Athletic Bilbao have proved to be somewhat of a bogey team for Barcelona so far this season. Their first meeting was in the Supercopa de España where it was the Basques that ran away aggregate winners 4-1. The opening league game saw a rematch of the two sides and Barcelona relied on a solo Luis Suárez strike to win the game.
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So it seemed a hard game was on the cards and just minutes into the game, Barcelona looked in trouble. Gerard Piqué's loose back pass was picked up by Eraso but before the midfielder managed a shot, Sergio Busquets was on top of him. Eraso ignored his open teammate but could only float the ball over with his chipped effort.
Two minutes later and that error in judgement was punished. Busquets found Aleix Vidal and the new Barça player slid a perfect ball into the path of Luis Suárez. After a brief wrestling match with a defender, Suárez took the ball into the box and around the diving Gorka Iraizoz. The keeper caught Suárez and the referee pointed to the spot. The bad news kept coming for Bilbao as Iraizoz saw red with 86 minutes still to play.
After showing off his fifth Ballon d'Or to the home crowd, Lionel Messi stepped up to take the penalty. Putting a somewhat shaky recent penalty record, Messi converted this one. A hard, low hit into the bottom of the right corner and the substitute keeper, Iago Herrerín, found himself picking the ball out of the net for his first touch.
Getting back into the game was going to be a tough ask for the visitors especially considering winning at the Camp Nou with eleven men is no walk in the park. That task was made a little harder just after the half an hour mark. Another quick breakaway found Suárez running at the defence with Neymar in support. The Uruguayan found the Brazilian and the Barça number 11 finished with a sublime chipped effort.
The Catalans were cruising and the half time whistle came with a comfortable 2-0 lead. That level of comfort was demonstrated by Luis Enrique's choice to substitute Lionel Messi at the break. Arda Turan was the man to replace him. It was interesting to see what position Turan would play. Would it be a like for like and Turan would play as part of the front three despite not featuring their for Atlético or would Andrés Inesta move up?
However, before Turan had even got a touch of the ball, Barça were 3-0 up. This time, Suárez wasn't the provider but the scorer. Busquets again started the play as he found Neymar. Neymar linked well with Suárez and a quick one-two allowed Suárez to be in on goal. He calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net for his first and Barça's third.
The visitors did get a good chance to pull one back in the 60th minute however again Eraso missed it. After taking a cross down well, he again lifted his effort over the bar and again it was punished two minutes later. This time, Neymar dribbled his way down the left flank and made it all the way to the byline. A few dazzling tricks later and the ball was on a plate for Ivan Rakitić. The Croatian easily slotted the ball through Herrerín's legs to make it 4-0.
Seven minutes later and Suárez had his second. A floated ball in was brilliantly taken down, justifying claims of Suárez being the best number 9 in the world, and a quick tap with the right foot took the ball into the net.
Having gone ten minutes without a goal, the game had gone into a seeming drought. That is until Suárez popped up again. Busquets, once more, started the goal with a floated cross in and Suárez was there to head the ball home. No doubt, Suárez will pick up the Man of the Match along with his match ball but Sergio Busquets' performance must also be noted for being truly superb.
The game finished 6-0 to the home side and it was a truly five star performance.
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