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Barcelona 2-1 Athletic: Messi and Griezmann strike move Catalans to second

Barcelona avenges their Supercopa loss with a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga.

Messi’s stunning free-kick after 20 minutes opened the scoring, before Alba’s embarrassing own goal following a Raul Garcia cross gave the visitors some hope just after the restart.

The Barcelona captain curled home the set piece from 25 yards out, despite Bilbao defender Yeray Alvarez’s best efforts to stop the free-kick on the goalline.

It was Messi’s 650th goal for Barcelona and came in his first league game back since being sent off in the Spanish Super Cup final loss to Athletic earlier this month.

From there – Barca were in control without dominating, failing to trouble Simon for large periods as they found it difficult to up their tempo in midfield.

The pressure ended up paying off for the hosts though, who found the breakthrough with just over 15 minutes remaining in the match; Griezmann getting on the end of a Mingueza pass to beat the goalkeeper from close range.

The win sends Barcelona up the table into second place, while Marcelino’s side stays 11th with the loss.

Barcelona is back in action on Wednesday when they travel to meet Granada in the Copa del Rey, before visiting Real Betis in LaLiga next Sunday.

Athletic to face Betis in the Copa on Thursday, before hosting Valencia in the league in seven days.

Barcelona ran out 2-1 winner in the end despite Jordi Alba own goal in five minutes after half-time. Antoine Griezmann slammed home Oscar Mingueza’s cross to earn the three points late on.

Ronald Koeman’s side moved ten points behind LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid, who won 4-2 at Cadiz earlier on Sunday.

Messi’s former Barcelona team-mate, Luis Suarez, scored a simple free-kick himself for Diego Simeone’s side as they kept their lead at the top of the Spanish top-flight.

Messi’s superb goal came on the same day the Argentinian’s lucrative Barcelona contract was leaked by Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

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