Athletic Bilbao celebrates Aritz Aduriz’s game-winning goal against Barcelona on Friday. (Reuters)
Barcelona’s season just got off on the wrong foot.
Specifically, Aritz Aduriz’s foot.
The 38-year-old Athletic Bilbao striker scored an incredible goal in the 89th minute as a substitute to beat Barcelona 1-0 in the first game of the La Liga campaign.
With his first touch of the game, Aduriz executed a gorgeous scissor volley in mid-air, leaving Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen no chance at getting his hand on the bouncing finish (via beIN Sports):
It was a rough night in all for Barcelona, which was missing Lionel Messi due to a calf strain and had to substitute Luis Suarez in the 37th minute due to a right leg injury. The visitors also hit the woodwork twice through Suarez and Rafinha, his replacement.
Marquee summer signing Antoine Griezmann was rather ineffective, ideas were in short supply from the club’s latest Ajax wunderkind Frenkie de Jong, and Barcelona was dispossessed all too easily. Even if the Catalans sign Neymar, it’s hard to see how much he would have changed things Friday in his current form.
This marks Barcelona’s first loss to open La Liga since 2008, a 1-0 setback at Numancia in Pep Guardiola’s first match in charge. It seems Barca will once again need Messi to carry them, at least early in the season as the new signings settle in.
Athletic Bilbao, meanwhile, beat Barcelona in the league for the first time since December 2013, and deployed its traditionally tough-minded style at the San Mamés Stadium.
Aduriz and Athletic Bilbao have three points to show for it. Barcelona only has more questions.
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