Raphinha Strikes Again To Give Barca Win At Athletic

Barcelona tightened their grip on first position ahead of a possibly season-defining week against second-placed Real Madrid with a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao.

Raphinha, a winger for Barcelona, earned a 1-0 victory in La Liga for the second week in a row at Athletic Bilbao as his team tightened its hold on first position ahead of a potentially pivotal week when they face Real Madrid.

In a reversal of roles from last week’s 1-0 victory against Valencia, Raphinha scored a powerful goal just before halftime thanks to a wonderful pass from midfielder Sergio Busquets, who saw the Brazilian lurking behind the defense.

Raphinha’s goal, though, was one of just two efforts on goal for Barcelona in the game as they managed to survive a furious match in which the hosts were the superior team for the majority of the game.

Athletic saw two efforts hit the crossbar and had a late-game attempt by Inaki Williams disallowed for a contentious handball in the build-up.

Barcelona has 65 points, nine more than Real in second place, who will need to win at Camp Nou the following Sunday to maintain their faint prospects of winning the championship. Athletic has 33 points, placing ninth.

“Once more, the situation is the same. We must play and attack more effectively “Xavi Hernandez, the Barca coach, said DAZN.

“In a challenging stadium, we won 1-0, but ultimately suffered. Although it is a glorious triumph, we continue to consider ways to increase our offensive effectiveness.”

A sold-out San Mames was roared by about 40,000 spectators, and Athletic quickly took control of the action with the Williams brothers, Nico and Inaki, posing a continuous threat to Barca’s defense.

After Barca defender Jules Kounde mishandled a pass back to Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 24th minute, the deft Alex Berenguer of Athletic nearly scored. The forward got in front of the goalie but missed the target.

Man-of-the-match In order to keep the scoreless, Ter Stegen made several key stops, the first coming in the 30th minute when he palmed Inaki Williams’ close-range shot around the post.

Raul Garcia’s header from the corner after that bounced off the crossbar, which was fortunate for him.

Raphinha took advantage of a chance and scored an unbelievable goal to give Barcelona breathing room going into halftime just as Athletic were fully in control and closing in.

Athletic fought back in the second half, and in the 71st minute Alex Berenguer attempted to score on a counterattack from within the box but struck the post.

A remarkable fingertip stop by Ter Stegen from Iker Muniain’s effort from the edge of the box five minutes later prevented Athletic from tying the score.

Once VAR intervened and the referee checked the replay screen, Inaki Williams’ 88th-minute shot was disallowed for a handball committed by Muniain earlier in the buildup, which incensed Athletic’s players and supporters.

During the extra time, the home team had another opportunity, but Ter Stegen’s quick save denied Yuri Berchiche, and Marcos Alonso headed off the line to block Oier Zarraga’s attempt after the rebound.

Written by Muhammad Qasim