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Primera División

  • 25 September 2010
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
  • Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
  • • Attendance: 36000
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Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona: David Villa sent off as goals from Seydou Keita, Xavi & Sergio Busquets move Barca up to second

Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona: David Villa sent off as goals from Seydou Keita, Xavi & Sergio Busquets move Barca up to second

World Cup winning striker and Amorebieta sent off...

Defending Spanish champions Barcelona have climbed to second place in the Primera Division table after an enthralling 3-1 win against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Saturday night.

Fernando Amorebieta was sent off for the home side for a rash challenge on Andres Iniesta just after the half-hour mark and the numerical advantage saw Barca go 2-0 up in the second period, thanks to strikes from Seydou Keita and Xavi.

David Villa was sent off late in the game for the Catalans and although Athletic pulled one back through Igor Gabilondo, a 92nd minute goal from Sergio Busquets saw Barca emerge victorious.

The match started at a slow pace but began to pick up momentum on nine minutes when Athletic defender Mikel San Jose went on a run from just inside his own half and tried to release Javi Martinez but his pass was intercepted by Gerard Pique.

Thereafter Barcelona asserted themselves and crafted two chances in as many minutes. Xavi’s through ball was brilliantly controlled by Keita but the Mali international couldn’t get it past Gorka Iraizoz. Then Villa hit the post after being released by Iniesta.

Athletic didn’t lie down, though, and asked questions of the Barca defence but the chances that fell to Fernando Llorente and Igor Martinez Caseras were not clear-cut, although the latter should have hit the target with a first-time volley just after the half-hour mark.

Things turned bad for the Basque side when Amorebieta was shown a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Iniesta near the centre-circle.

Barca could have made their numerical advantage count as the first half wore to a close with Villa trying his luck with a free-kick three minutes before the interval.

Ten-man Athletic almost shocked the champions five minutes into the second half when they ghosted into the Barca penalty area and San Jose took a shot from close range only to see to it hit the post.

Five minutes later the visitors went ahead as Keita found the target from close range. Maxwell and Iniesta combined well on the left side and the latter passed the ball to Villa, who then sent the Malian midfielder through on goal.

It could have beem 2-0 to Barca midway through the second half had Iniesta’s shot from an acute angle from close range not hit the post. A couple of minutes later Villa was denied by Iraizoz.

The second goal for the former European champions eventually came in the 73rd minute when Xavi’s shot from outside the Athletic box went in after a deflection.

The Catalans continued to dominate the rest of the match with Pedro and Iniesta coming close although Villa was sent off in the 87th minute for raising his arm on an opponent after which Gabilondo found the net from just yards out.

But Athletic's fightback was smothered just moments later when Busquets scored the visitors' third of the night with a superb finish on the counter.

The 3-1 victory pushes Barcelona above archrivals Real Madrid into second place and just a point behind league leaders Valencia.

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