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FC Barcelona News: 7 November 2011; Barça Draw with Athletic Bilbao, Valdes' Unbeaten Run Ends

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BILBAO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 06:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on under a rain storm during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BILBAO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 06: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on under a rain storm during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Yesterday FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao engaged in a thrilling encounter at San Mamés. In my opinion it was one of the best games of the season as both teams had numerous scoring opportunities and, in the end, either team could have won. The second half was spoiled by the teams needing to play water polo instead of football, but nonetheless the game did not disappoint. If only more managers instructed their players to play as aggressive as Marcelo Bielsa did.

Athletic 2-2 Barcelona: Bielsa stifles Barca by telling his players to stick tightly to opponents | Zonal Marking
Bielsa went with a 4-3-3ish shape, with Javi Martinez at centre-back, and Iker Muniain out on the right – a slight surprise, given the winger has started on the left for much of the season. Pep Guardiola picked a 4-3-3, but with a front three featuring a deep-lying forward, a central midfielder and a wing-back, as David Villa was left out.

Guradiola, proud of his squad, praises Athletic Club | FC Barcelona
"How can I not be happy with the spectacular show that the 22 players put on for us?" With this question, a hoarse Pep Guardiola expressed his joy for the amazing game played in San Mamés. After the draw, the Barça manager said: "Everyone enjoyed this marvelous game thanks to these very good players. This was an ode to football."

Athletic Bilbao make a splash to peg back Barcelona in thriller | Sid Lowe | Football | guardian.co.uk
Pep Guardiola called it un canto al fútbol – a song of praise, an ode to the game. When the final whistle went night, the Barcelona coach leant towards Athletic Bilbao's manager Marcelo Bielsa and shouted over the deafening noise into his ear. Behind them, thousands of fans dressed in bright bin bags, rain rushing off them, applauded wildly, vacating their seat to start a standing ovation.

Víctor Valdés sets unbeaten record at 896 minutes | FC Barcelona
After 896 minutes without conceding a goal, Víctor Valdés had to fish the ball out from the back of the net. It was in the 19th minute when Ander Herrera beat the Barça goalkeeper, thus breaking his unbeaten streak. Despite conceding the goal, Valdés is now the keeper that has gone the longest without conceding a goal in Barça’s history.

Athletic Bilbao's Marcelo Bielsa: It's frustrating not to have beaten Barcelona - Goal.com
"It is very frustrating not to have beaten Barcelona. It might not have been deserved if we had managed to do so, but we came very close in the end. Either way, the final score is a good reflection of what happened on the pitch," Bielsa said at the post-match press conference.

Blackburn want Barcelona's Jonathan Dos Santos | Mail Online
Blackburn Rovers are weighing up an ambitious move for Barcelona’s Jonathan dos Santos. The Mexico midfielder, brother of Tottenham’s Giovani, is on the fringes of Barcelona’s first-team squad but is a regular in their B side.

Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria faces one-month lay-off due to hamstring injury - Goal.com
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has received some disturbing news on the injury front in the aftermath of his side's 7-1 La Liga win over Osasuna on Sunday afternoon, as winger Angel Di Maria sustained a hamstring problem in the match and will be sidelined for up to one month, AS reports.

Real Madrid send shirt message to AC Milan's Antonio Cassano - Goal.com
Real Madrid sent a message of support to their former player, AC Milan's Antonio Cassano, ahead of their 7-1 win at home to Osasuna on Sunday. Madrid's players came onto the pitch wearing shirts with number 19 on the back and and the message 'Forza Cassano' on the front ahead of their demolition of the Pamplona-based side.

Liga - Kaka, Marcelo out of Brazil squad - Yahoo! Eurosport
World Cup playmaker Kaka and his Real Madrid team mate Marcelo will miss two Brazil friendlies over the next nine days through injury. "The players are prevented from playing due to muscular injuries, as confirmed by scans sent by Real Madrid to the Brazilian national team's medical department," the CBF said on its website.

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