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Barcelona v Athletic Club Live Commentary, 23/10/2022

FT
4 - 0
BAR
ATH
O. Dembélé (12)
Sergi Roberto (18)
R. Lewandowski (22)
Ferran Torres (73)
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Commentary

That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed the game. Until next time, goodbye!
That thumping 4-0 victory sees Barcelona remain second, three points behind Real Madrid, albeit with a superior goal difference of +24 to Los Blancos' +19. They're also five points clear of third, implying that the 2022-23 La Liga title charge could well end up being a two-horse race. Bilbao remain sixth, for now, although a third successive game without a win suggests they could soon be sliding down the table, if they don't address this poor run of form.
Despite the brilliance of Dembele throughout, his teammate Sergi Roberto also had a superb game down the right flank, until being forced off with a nasty shoulder injury. Scoring the second goal, the full-back managed a key pass, two shots and three crosses, as well as winning all five of his duels and making nine final third entries. He won possession five times too, via three tackles and two interceptions, and his partnership with Dembele was far, far too much for Athletic to handle. Double-Act.
It's all over, and Bilbao will be thankful to hear that final whistle. Despite only conceding the one goal in the second half, they were still second-best by quite a margin. Dembele once again popped up to have his hand in a Barca goal, with his assist for Torres' 73rd-minute finish meaning he was directly involved with every single strike for the Blaugrana. Another convincing victory, the second in four days, sees them keep up the pace with Real Madrid, and head into a must-win Champions League tie with Barcelona brimming with confidence.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 4-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO.
90' + 2' De Jong looks to put Fati in behind the defence, but the substitute takes a heavy touch and the ball rolls through to Simon.
90' We'll play three minutes of added time to close the game out, and Bilbao's players will be hoping that the final whistle comes as quickly as possible.
Mikel Vesga
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
89' Kessie surges down the right but is tugged back by Vesga, and upon bringing the Ivorian to ground, the Bilbao midfielder is booked.
89' OFF THE LINE, TWICE!! Ter Stegen's heavy touch is latched on by Sancet, who tees up Vencedor to shoot. It's blocked, but Sancet follows in, but his effort is blocked off the line by Eric Garcia!!
88' Lekue whips an inviting ball into the box, but De Jong gets his head to it to avert the danger for 10-man Barca, and Torres sets off on the counter.
86' Roberto is taken off the pitch via medical cart - showing how serious the shoulder injury is - and having used all five of their substitutes, Barcelona will likely play out the rest of the game with 10 men!
84' Roberto slides in to win the ball brilliantly in the box, but injures his shoulder in the process and needs significant medical attention.
82' Garcia has attempted 100 passes in this game - it's the 10th time this season that a Barcelona player has attempted 90 passes or more in a single match in La Liga, and more than any other player in this game (De Jong has 67).
80' Yuri isn't able to relax following Dembele's withdrawal, as he now has Torres running past him, and the Bilbao left-back tugs the substitute to ground and concedes the free-kick.
Eric García
Yellow Card
Barcelona
78' Eric Garcia flies late into a challenge on Alvarez as the Bilbao centre-back passes long, and the Barca centre-back picks up a yellow card.
Pablo Torre
O. Dembélé
Barcelona
77' The undoubted man-of-the-match Dembele comes off in Barca's final change, and La Masia graduate Pablo Torre, making his Blaugrana debut, will replace the France winger.
76' Dembele whips an early cross into the box towards Fati, but it's hooked over and behind by Martinez before the offside flag goes up.
75' Berenguer cuts inside from the left and looks to create an angle to shoot from, but Balde gets in the way to block his path and concede a corner!
O. Dembélé
Assist
Barcelona
73' That's a hat-trick of assist for Dembele in this game, more than doubling his tally for the season so far to take him to five!
Ferran Torres
Goal
Barcelona
73' GOOOAAALLL!!! There's number four!! Dembele picks up the ball on the right once again, and dribbles forward before playing a beauty of a throughball in behind the defence. Torres races onto it, and slots the ball beyond the onrushing Simon from a tight angle, and Barca add another to make it a 4-0 rout here!
72' Berenguer's free-kick almost finds Sancet with a flying volley, but he can't get contact with the ball despite stretching for it!
Sergio Busquets
Yellow Card
Barcelona
71' Sancet gets away from Balde and looks to drive at the hosts' defence, but Busquets slides into him from behind and is penalised, with the Barca captain also booked by the referee.
Raúl García
I. Williams
Athletic Club
70' Inaki Williams is last off for the visitors, with a fellow Bilbao veteran in Raul Garcia replacing him.
Unai Vencedor
Oier Zarraga
Athletic Club
70' Zarraga is next off in Bilbao's penultimate change, and Unai Vencedor will replace the starting midfielder.
68' A long ball is arced towards Sancet running in behind the defence, but the Athletic substitute uses his hand to control the ball and the free-kick goes against him.
67' SAVED!!! Dembele has the freedom of Catalonia down the right once again, leaving Yuri on his backside as he cuts inside and finds Torres running through. The substitute's flicked finished is well saved by Simon, before Lekue hooks the ball away before anyone can pounce on the rebound!
66' OVER!!! De Jong sets off on a run from the edge of his own box, and arrives on the edge of Bilbao's untouched before passing to Fati. He cuts inside from the left and shoots, sending his effort looping just over the bar!
65' Nico Williams looks to beat Balde down the right before crossing, but once more it's too close to Ter Stegen, who catches with ease!
Marcos Alonso
J. Koundé
Barcelona
63' Kounde comes off too, and Marcos Alonso, who deputised at centre-back against Villarreal, will likely do the same for the remainder of this one.
Ferran Torres
Pedri
Barcelona
63' Pedri comes off too, and Ferran Torres will come on in his place for the Blaugrana.
Ansu Fati
R. Lewandowski
Barcelona
63' Xavi makes a raft of changes for Barca with Lewandowski coming off for Ansu Fati, who also scored in the 3-0 rout of Villarreal last time out.
62' Dembele races past Yuri once more before squaring to Lewandowski, whose first-time effort is blocked and cleared by Martinez.
Lekue
De Marcos
Athletic Club
60' Captain De Marcos also comes off for the visitors, with Inigo Lekue taking his place.
Oihan Sancet
Dani García
Athletic Club
60' Subbed on for Herrera in the first half, Dani Garcia has picked up a knock and needs replacing, so Oihan Sancet will come on for the Bilbao midfielder.
59' Barca have won all six of the games in which they've been leading at half-time in the La Liga this season.
57' SAVED!!! Dembele races forward on the break for the Blaugrana and cuts inside from the right before finding Pedri to his left. He gets the ball back, and pulls the trigger from the edge of the box, but his shot is well held by Simon!
55' Balde gets around the outside of Nico Williams and then cuts inside De Marcos as he approaches the six-yard box, but a heavy touch once there sees the ball roll into Simon's gloves.
54' The visitors counter and Nico Williams is put through on goal by a long pass, but Ter Stegen races out of his box to put the ball out for a throw!
53' OFF THE POST!!! Roberto intercepts a poor Simon kick and he gets the return ball back from Dembele. He surges into the box and cuts the ball across goal to Pedri, but Dani Garcia's intervention sees the midfielder smash the ball into the base of the post, before it ricochets out and Bilbao clear!
52' No La Liga team has had more sequences of 10+ passes this season than Barcelona's 189 before this game, 12 more than Real Madrid, who have 177.
50' Dembele is in space down the right, but squares the ball inside for Pedri. He looks to pick out Balde's run by chipping towards the byline, but the left-back can't reach the ball and it goes behind for a goal kick.
48' The ball is passed back to Ter Stegen, and the Barca goalkeeper is pressured into a poor clearing kick thanks to Inaki Williams.
46' Berenguer's cross-field pass finds Nico Williams running in behind the defence, but his drilled cross into the six-yard box is straight to Ter Stegen.
46' Inaki Williams kicks off for Bilbao, and the second stanza is underway here!
The teams return for the second half, and can Barcelona turn the screw to add even more goals to this substantial scoreline?
Dembele has run Bilbao, and in particular the left-back Yuri, absolutely ragged so far, scoring the opener after his other shot on target was saved by Simon, and setting up two more with his sole key passes in the first half. He's been a constant threat, completing a game-high 21 passes in the visitors' half, nine in the final third, and has also contested eight duels, winning two of three dribbles, and crossed once into the Athletic box. Electric.
Just like against Villarreal, Barca go into the half-time break three goals to the good. It's been an even more dominant home display than that game, scoring thrice in 10 minutes after Dembele scored the opener in the 12th. The Frenchman turned provider for the next two goals, teeing up Roberto to smash home the second, before finding Lewandowski on the turn to score Barca's third. The visitors have had no answer to the Blaugrana, and unless something changes in the second half, there is absolutely no way back for Athletic here.
45' + 5' HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 3-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO.
45' + 5' Nico Williams gets away from Dembele before floating a cross in from the left. He looks for Inaki Williams at the back post, but Pedri heads clear for Barca.
45' + 3' Busquets' loose pass is snatched upon by Berenguer, who dribbles to the edge of the box before curling a low shot straight into the gloves of Ter Stegen!
45' + 2' Barcelona have scored 15 first-half goals in 11 games, more than any other team in La Liga so far this season.
45' We'll play five minutes of added time to close out the first half, with the bulk of that coming from Gavi's injury.
44' Barcelona have not conceded in their last five league home games, their best run under Xavi, and best run since 12 shutouts in a row between April and December 2011 under Pep Guardiola.
42' Dembele sets off on another mazy run, beating Berenguer, Vesga and Yuri on his way forward, but Alvarez gets in the way of his eventual shot!
41' Zarraga links up with Inaki Williams, who shoots from the edge of the box, but Kounde gets in the way to block the effort and Ter Stegen recovers possession for the hosts.
40' Nico Williams gets past Balde and crosses into the area, but his brother Inaki can't get to the ball before it's cleared away by Eric Garcia!
38' CHANCE!!! Balde skilfully steps inside De Marcos and looks for Kessie at the front post, but the Ivorian, still to really get into the game, once again can't finish!
36' Dembele finds Roberto on the overlap once more, and he drills the ball back inside to Kessie, but the substitute's touch lets him down and the ball goes out of play!
F. Kessie
Gavi
Barcelona
33' Gavi finally makes his way off to rapturous applause from the home fans, and Franck Kessie will replace him in midfield.
32' Gavi goes to ground again, and the teenager will surely need to be replaced now. Barca needn't worry though, as they're already a comfortable three goals ahead!
30' After a lengthy period of treatment, Gavi is back on his feet, albeit still moving gingerly as play continues.
Yellow Card
28' Gavi goes down, and has stayed down following a collision with Raul Garcia. Xavi is incensed on the sideline, to the extent that he's given a yellow card by the referee!
27' Athletic have not won any of their last three games in La Liga, their worst run without a win in the competition since December 2021 under Marcelino Garcia Toral.
25' A woeful left-footed attempt at a clearance by Roberto is snatched upon by Nico Williams, but Eric Garcia gets to the bouncing ball first and hacks it clear!
24' Lewandowski scored a very similar goal to open the scoring against Villarreal in midweek, but while that was the first of that game, his 22nd-minute strike is already the third of this one! Ruthless, is the word.
O. Dembélé
Assist
Barcelona
22' Another assist for Dembele in almost as many minutes, and the weight on the pass for Lewandowski gave him the time to turn and pick his spot to put Barca into a commanding 3-0 lead.
R. Lewandowski
Goal
Barcelona
22' GOOOOAAAALLL!!! There's the third!!! Dembele gives Yuri another nightmare as he glides past the left-back and inside, towards the box. He passes to Lewandowski in the centre, who turns De Marcos with ease and strokes the ball home with his left foot, to put a cruising Barca 3-0 up already!
Dani García
Ander Herrera
Athletic Club
21' Valverde takes early action to address Bilbao's issues, taking off Ander Herrera for Dani Garcia barely 20 minutes into the game.
19' Athletic Club coach Ernesto Valverde has lost his last seven games against Barcelona in La Liga, his worst losing run against an opponent in his career as coach in the competition, and compounded by Barca being his former employers.
O. Dembélé
Assist
Barcelona
18' Barca's right-side attack is truly on song at the moment, with opening goalscorer Dembele turning provider for that goal, giving Roberto a sweet pass to latch onto with a venomous shot.
Sergi Roberto
Goal
Barcelona
18' GOOOOAAAALLL!!! Barca double their lead!!! Roberto sets off over halfway and plays a one-two with Dembele. He receives the return ball inside the box, and blasts a shot across the face of goal, which takes a deflection off Martinez to wrong-foot Simon and fly into the net!! 2-0 inside 18 minutes, and Barcelona are well and truly up and running here.
De Marcos
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
16' Nico Williams takes on Balde but is dispossessed, and the Blaugrana left-back sets off on the counter. De Marcos blocks his run, and is subsequently penalised and booked by the referee.
14' Dembele is found in the box again, but takes a heavy touch and Yuri comes away with the ball, before he's taken to ground by the goal scorer to win Athletic a free-kick.
R. Lewandowski
Assist
Barcelona
12' The first shot from Dembele deserved a goal, but was well saved, and Lewandowski's cross back in saw him turn provider for the Frenchman to open the scoring!
O. Dembélé
Goal
Barcelona
12' GOOOOOAAAALL!!!! The Blaugrana take the lead!!! Pedri's wide pass finds the Frenchman down the right, and he cuts inside before firing a curling shot towards the far corner. Simon saves, and parries it wide, where Lewandowski picks up the ball and crosses back into the area, where Dembele rises above Yuri to head into the net!!! A rare headed goal from the Frenchman, and it's 1-0 to the home side!
10' CHANCE!!! Good play from Barca as Dembele chips over the top of the Bilbao defence from the edge of the box. Gavi races onto it, but the bounce of the ball evades his stretching effort and goes behind!
9' Busquets' long ball looks for Dembele on the fly, but the winger can't bring it under control before the ball bounces behind for a goal kick.
7' Athletic have only collected points in one of their last 18 games at Camp Nou in La Liga, a 1-1 draw in September 2018 under Eduardo Berizzo. Ernesto Valverde was in the Barcelona dugout for that game, but is wearing the colours of Bilbao for this fixture in 2022.
5' Martinez is pressured by Gavi and loses out to the teenager, but the Barca playmaker loses his footing before he can cross, and the ball rolls out of play.
4' Balde cuts inside from the left and puts Lewandowski down the byline. He races into the box for the return ball, but Lewandowski is flagged for offside before he can find an inside pass.
3' Barcelona have not lost any of their last 20 home games against Athletic in La Liga, winning 17 of these. It’s their best run at home against them in the competition.
1' Lewandowski and De Jong kick the game off for Barcelona, and we're underway at Camp Nou!
The two sides are out on the pitch, and kick-off is just moments away here in Catalonia!
Ander Herrera missed the loss to Atletico Madrid thanks to an injury time red card in the draw with Sevilla, and the veteran Bilbao midfielder returns in attacking midfield for the visitors, in a front four also featuring top-scoring brothers Inaki and Nico Williams.
Robert Lewandowski scored twice in four first-half minutes to send Barca on their way to victory over Villarreal, and once again leads the line for the Blaugrana. Ansu Fati added the third three minutes later, but is on the bench for this game, with Gavi and Ousmane Dembele preferred on the wings.
ATHLETIC BILBAO SUBS: Julen Agirrezabala, Jon Morcillo, Dani Vivian, Oihan Sancet, Iker Muniain, Gorka Guruzeta, Dani Garcia, Inigo Lekue, Unai Vencedor, Raul Garcia, Mikel Balenziaga, Aitor Paredes.
ATHLETIC BILBAO (4-2-3-1): Unai Simon; Oscar De Marcos, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez, Yuri Berchiche; Oier Zarraga, Mikel Vesga; Nico Williams, Ander Herrera, Alex Berenguer; Inaki Williams.
BARCELONA SUBS: Inaki Pena, Arnau Tenas, Hector Bellerin, Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Marcos Alonso, Jordi Alba, Franck Kessie, Raphinha, Pablo Torre.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Marc-Andre Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Jules Kounde, Eric Garcia, Alejandro Balde; Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Pedri; Ousmane Dembele, Roberto Lewandowski, Pablo Gavi.
Athletic are sixth, in the final European qualification spot, but risk slipping lower down the table with defeat in this game. They’ve not won either of their last two, drawing and losing to Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, but are yet to go three games without a win this season.
Barcelona sit second and are currently six points behind Real Madrid with a game in hand. They kept pace with the champions in midweek, beating Villarreal 3-0 at home, and need to have a similar result if they’re to close the gap at the top to three points.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this La Liga fixture, as Barcelona take on Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou.