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01 December 2012
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
• Attendance: 68346
L. Messi 25', 70'
Adriano Correia 45'
FULL TIME. Barcelona outclass Athletic with a dominant 5-1 victory at Camp Nou.The Catalan side confirm their greatest ever start to a La Liga season with the win and do so in style with a commanding performance. Lionel Messi grows ever closer to Gerd Muller's record for goals scored in a year. I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us on Goal.com! See you next time!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Ander Herrera
Well there nearly is a goal! Pique does brilliantly to burst out of defence and pass the ball to Messi. The Argentine picks out Pedro who launches a cross to the back post for Pique who takes the ball down and clips inside for Messi who heads over the bar!
Barca just sitting back and allowing Athletic to pass the ball around. I doubt we'll see any more goals in this as the tempo is very slow. Lionel will have to wait until next time to claim his record.
Llorente picks up Borka Ekiza down the right-hand side and looks to receive the return pass inside the box but Victor Valdes comes out to commandingly claim possession.
Just over from Xavi!!! Messi glides forward again and plays the ball into the feet of Pedro who lays the ball off for the Barcelona captain who drives a shot towards the top corner. However, it goes just over the bar.
A low tempo end to the match. It was won a long time ago and Athletic looks as if they just want to see the final whistle. And no wonder, they have took a pasting tonight.
Llorente picks up possession on the halfway line and launches a counterattack. He collides heavily with Mascherano and does not join the attack. He is not moving well at all now.
10 minutes for Lionel Messi to break the record by earning his hat-trick goal. You wouldn't bet against him, would you?
Xavi looks to thread a pass down the left for Pedro but a fantastic interception from San Jose clears the ball out for a corner kick. That would have been some pass had it hit it's mark.
And another one from Tito Vilanova. Alex Song is introduced to the action in place of Sergio Busquets.
A trio of substitutions. Adriano and Iniesta are withdrawn with Thiago and Martin Montoya coming on for Barca. Ramalho is replaced by Mikel San Jose for Athletic.
Lionel Messi is now on 84 goals for the year. One more and he breaks Gerd Muller's record!
Goal Lionel Messi
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCA!! 5-1! Pedro does brilliantly on the byline to resurrect an attack and slide the ball into the box for Messi. The Argentine feigns to shoot before curling a cracking right-footed shot into the top corner!
Iraizoz saves again!!! Iniesta picks out Pedro on the left-hand side who side-foots towards goal but again Athletic are bailed out by their 'keeper! Barca probing for more goals!
Goal Ibai Gómez
GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL FOR ATHLETIC!!! Iturraspe clips a fantastic pass over the top of the Barca defence for Ibai Gomez, who shows composure to take the ball down and slot the ball through the legs of Valdes! 4-1!
A change to report for you as Susaeta comes off for Gaizka Toquero.
Inches wide from Ander!! The Athletic man collects the ball on the edge of the box and hits a daisy cutter towards goal but it misses the corner by the smallest of margins!
Ander shows quick feet on the right wing and picks out Ibai Gomez with a sensational cross-field pass. Ibai takes on Adriano but the Brazilian shows resilience to earn back possession and clear the ball.
Lionel Messi is only two goals away from breaking Gerd Muller's record for the most goals scored in a single year. You would not put it past him doing it tonight.
Goal Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!!! Iniesta picks out Fabregas on the inside right channel and the 25-year-old takes one touch before lashing a strike into the bottom right corner! Superb stuff again from the hosts! 4-0.
Yellow Card Iturraspe
Scintillating play from Messi and Iniesta. They link up inside the box and the Argentine looks poised to shoot at goal but eventually gets the ball stuck under his feet and Iraizoz comes out to claim.
Another good save from Iraizoz!! Busquets gallops forward and lays the ball into the feet of Messi, who opens his body and attempts to find the bottom corner with a left-footed strike. But the Athletic 'keeper makes a good stop to his right.
A low-key start to the second half from Barcelona. They seem to be more willing to let Athletic have the ball and they are playing a little within themselves. I suppose you can do that when you're three goals to the good.
Penalty shout for Athletic. Ander drifts into the box and is bumped in the back by Pique. Not a penalty, for me, he went down far too easily.
A change to report at half-time. Fernando Llorente comes on in place of Aritz Aduriz.
Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia
THE SECOND HALF IS UNDER WAY.
HALF TIME. Well, Athletic looked fine in the opening stages but Barcelona have showed their class to eventually run over the top of the Basque side. Three goals up and it could be a lot more as the second half progresses! Join us in 15 minutes after the break!
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA! Absolutely wonderful! Messi, with six defenders around him, picks out Cesc on the edge of the box, who, in turn, slips a perfect pass to the on-rushing Adriano who smashes into the roof of the net! 3-0!
Messi hits the underside of the bar! That would have been some goal! He manages to get in front of the defender at the front post and guides a strike past Iraizoz but its hits the bar then the line!
What a miss from Iniesta!! Pedro cushions a cross into the path of his team-mate and with a large portion of the goal to aim at, the Barca man lashes wide of the mark!
A small break in play at the moment as Jordi Alba was down injured after a clash with Ramalho. He gingerly walks off the pitch to be treated nut it looks as if he'll be fine.
Great save from Iraizoz! Messi twists and turns inside the area and picks out Fabregas 12 yards from goal. The former Arsenal man drills a shot towards the bottom corner but the Atheltic goalkeeper palms the ball to safety.
Pedro has the opportunity to run towards goal down a clear path but his touch lets him down and this allows Athletic defenders to get back in position. The Barca man hasn't looked himself tonight.
Messi steps up and whips the free kick towards goal but it goes wide to the left-hand side.
Yellow Card Óscar De Marcos
Excellent again from Andres Iniesta. He breaks down the left and again cuts inside. He shows superb control of the ball whilst running at blistering pace and earns a foul on the edge of the box from Iturraspe.
Oscar De Marcos picks up the first booking of the match for Athletic. He came right through behind Busquets after the ball had already gone. A deserved yellow card.
Messi drives at pace towards the Athletic defence, all the while being hustled and harried by Iturraspe. The ball deflects to the feet of Fabregas on the edge of the box, who whips a shot towards the top corner but it misses by a yard.
Ibai chips a fantastic cross into the box and Oscar De Marcos drifts in and looks to take the ball down but his touch is poor and the ball goes out for a goal kick. He had a free shot on goal had he collected the ball!
Pedro looks to get in on the action. He picks up the ball on the left-hand side and shuffles inside before aiming to curl the ball into the far corner but it goes wide of the mark. Unlucky.
Yellow Card Busquets
The Athletic defence parted like the Red Sea there!
Goal Lionel Messi
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!! Athletic are capitulating now! Xavi clips a glorious pass through the middle and Messi drives forward and clips the ball over Iraizoz. It may have been going wide but Amorebieta, in his attempt to clear the ball off the line, hits the ball into the roof of the net! 2-0 Barca!
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!! Messi whips a corner and the ball falls to the feet of Fabregas, who smashes a shot towards goal. Iraizoz makes a great save but Pique is on hand to dispatch the rebound! First goal of the season for Gerard Pique!
Superb defending from Amorebieta! Valdes launches the ball up the park and Messi breaks the offside trap to run through on goal but the Athletic defender recovers brilliantly to block the path to goal. Ramalho eventually clears the ball out for a corner.
Athletic are defending bravely at the moment. They are squeezing the space on the edge of the box and because this is where Messi usually operates, the Argentine hasn't been able to get into the match yet.
The ball comes to Pedro on the right but Aurtenetxe robs him of possession. Susaeta eventually picks up the ball in a good area in front of goal but his pass into the feet of Aduriz is intercepted by Mascherano, who passes the ball out of defence.
Barca are now looking to channel most of their play through Iniesta on the left as he has had some joy so far. He slipped Alba down the wing and the left-back fizzed a cross inside to the feet of Messi but the Argentine was dispossessed.
Superb from Iniesta! The maestro takes on Ramalho and twists and turns before lashing a strike at goal. It was heading towards the bottom corner but Iraizoz managed to get his body behind the ball and make the save.
The game is a midfield battle at the moment. We haven't seen one iota of meaningful play in the final third. More of tactical battle at the moment. Athletic working very hard.
Marcelo Bielsa's men are starting to feel their way into the match a little more now. Iturraspe and Ander are beginning to get on the ball and affect the play.
Aduriz drives through the middle and the Barca defence retreat back into a deeper position. Pique eventually picks up possession and passes the ball back to Valdes but again the pressing of Athletic forces the 'keeper into thumping the ball into the stand.
Iniesta drifts in from the left-hand side and looks to pick out Messi with an eye-of-the-needle pass but Athletic manage to intercept and clear the ball. That would have been sensational had it come off.
Athletic have made their intentions knows early. As expected, Barca have enjoyed the majority of the possession so far but the visitors are chasing down every ball and pressing the defence.
WE ARE UNDER WAY!
With kick-off fast approaching, make sure you get your thoughts, feelings, and predictions on the game on the chat section of our Live Match Centre!
This is the starting XI of Athletic: Iraizoz; Ramalho, Ekiza, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe; Iturraspe, De Marcos, Herrera; Susaeta, Aduriz, Ibai
This is how Barcelona will be lining up tonight: Valdes; Adriano, Mascherano, Pique, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Fabregas
The Catalans will make the best ever start in the Spanish league's 113-year history with a win over Athletic Bilbao, overhauling Real Madrid's record set in 1991-92. More history to be made by this current crop of Barcelona players then.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action tonight. Barca and Athletic usually compete in terrific games, and they are two sides who love to play attractive football, so we could be in for a treat!
Good evening folks! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division match between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao!
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