Athletic upset Barcelona 1-0 in LaLiga opener
Athletic Club's Aritz Aduriz (L) scores a goal against Barcelona in a LaLiga match in Bilbao, Spain, on Friday, Aug. 16. EFE-EPA/JAVIER ZORRILLA
Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann (L) controls the ball as Unai Lopez of Athletic Club looks on during a LaLiga match in Bilbao, Spain, on Friday, Aug. 16. EFE-EPA/MIGUEL TOÑA
FC Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen readies to stop a shot by Athletic Club's Iñaki Williams (in red) during a LaLiga match in Bilbao, Spain, on Friday, Aug. 16. EFE-EPA/JAVIER ZORRILLA
Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué (R) goes up for the ball as Yeray Alvarez approaches during a LaLiga match in Bilbao, Spain, on Friday, Aug. 16. EFE-EPA/MIGUEL TOÑA
Bilbao, Spain, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- Aritz Aduriz began what he says will be his final professional season here Friday with a spectacular goal to lead Athletic Club 1-0 over defending champions Barcelona in the opening match of the 2019-2020 LaLiga season.
Just seconds after coming on as a sub, the 38-year-old forward executed a dazzling bicycle kick to beat Barça keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 89th minute.
Athletic, riding a 13-match home unbeaten streak, made the better start and striker Iñaki Williams tested Ter Stegen twice in the first 15 minutes before the visitors found their stride.
Barça's first chance of the night resulted from a blunder by Athletic's Unai Lopez, whose intended pass to keeper Unai Simon was directly in the path of Luis Suarez.
A desperate Simon came off his line, but Suarez beat him, only to see the ball bounce off the post.
The Uruguayan international left the game injured in the 37th minute and was replaced by Rafinha, whose strike in the 44th minute hit the corner of the woodwork.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde's decision to send in Ivan Rakitic for Aleña at the beginning of the second half changed the tenor of the match, as the Croatian midfielder was quick to make his presence felt.
Rakitic fired just over the cross-bar in the 49th minute, four minutes before a deflection denied Rafinha after a great play by Dembele.
The teams traded chances, but neither looked particularly threatening, while Barça were visibly suffering from the absence of Suarez and the injured Lionel Messi, who wasn't even on the roster for the match.
And just as the contest appeared destined to end 0-0, Aduriz came onto the pitch and scored his 169th career goal for Athletic in all competitions, to the delight of most of the nearly 47,000 people in the stands at Bilbao's San Mames stadium.
Athletic Club: Unai Simon; Ander Capa, Unai Núñez, Yeray, Yuri; Dani Garcia, Unai Lopez (Beñat, m.80); De Marcos (Sancet, m.66), Raul García, Muniain; Williams (Aduriz, m.88).
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Sergi Roberto (Carles Perez, m.76), De Jong, Aleñá (Rakitic, m.46); Dembélé, Luis Suarez (Rafinha, m.37) and Griezmann. EFE