LaLiga: Luis Suarez reveals why Barcelona dropped points against Athletic Bilbao

Inaki Williams can punish Barcelona

LaLiga leaders FC Barcelona moved six points clear of second-place Real Madrid, despite dropping points at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday evening.

Bilbao had another opportunity in the 17th minute when Susaeta worked a yard of space before curling a wonderful effort towards the top corner, but Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a top save.

And Barcelona handler Ernesto Valverde has now provided an answer dismissing the suggestions that Lionel Messi was not fit enough to play on Sunday, February 10.

Barca has the chance to go eight points clear in second place with a win thanks to Atletico Madrid's loss to Real Madrid on Saturday.

The struggling Philippe Coutinho retained his place alongside Suarez and Messi up front but Arturo Vidal came in for the injured Arthur Melo and Nelson Semedo started at left back, with Jordi Alba suspended.

"This is a long season and we have to be top at the end of it".

"We were first last week and we are still first, and if my maths is right, we will be again next week", Valverde said.

There is a free midweek this week for the Blaugrana and then a home league fixture against Real Valladolid, but after that they have to travel to Sevilla and then to Real Madrid in the league.

Leading to halftime, Garcia provided the final chance when his acrobatic effort was kept out by the busy Ter Stegen.

Indeed, had it not been for the German, they might even have left empty-handed with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez misfiring as Gaizka Garitano's men started and finished strongly.

Messi clipped a shot onto the top of the crossbar and over after goalkeeper Iago Herrerin had raced from his line to deny Semedo and then forced Herrerin into an inelegant save at his near post, but Raul Garcia saw a shot deflected wide by Sergi Roberto four minutes before the break.

The game was frantic and Bilbao were more than holding their own.

The visitors increased their intensity and dominated in the early exchanges of the second stand but they could not find a way through.

Bilbao had De Marcos sent off for a second bookable offence - deliberate handball - in the final moments, but Barcelona, who were denied a late penalty by VAR, could not find a victor as they failed to triumph for the third match in succession.



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