[QODLink]
Football

Barca fall to first La Liga loss

Barcelona lose 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao and fail to restore their three-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga.

Last updated: 02 Dec 2013 08:39
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Barca turned in one of their worst performances of the campaign against a fired-up Bilbao [Reuters]

Barcelona crashed to their first La Liga defeat of the season and failed to restore their three-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top when they were beaten 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao.

Barca were again without the injured Lionel Messi on Sunday, who is not expected back until mid-January, and turned in one of their worst performances of the campaign against a fired-up Bilbao at the Basque club's new San Mames stadium.

A miserable week for the Spanish champions, which included Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League loss at Ajax Amsterdam, went from bad to worse when Bilbao forward Iker Muniain stole in to net from close range in the 71st minute.

Barca barely mustered a shot on target against the Basques, with Brazil forward Neymar particularly disappointing, and it was only the second time in 15 matches this season they have dropped points after the 0-0 draw at Osasuna in October.

Gerardo Martino's side are level with Atletico on 40 points following the Madrid club's 2-0 win at promoted Elche on Saturday, while Real Madrid, whose 4-0 drubbing of Real Valladolid on Saturday included a hat-trick from record signing Gareth Bale, are three points further back in third.

Bilbao ended a streak of 14 winless La Liga games against Barca and beat them for the first time since May 2006 to climb above Villarreal into fourth on 29 points.

"It was an open game against a great opponent who pressed us hard and knows how to play," Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets said in a pitchside interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus.

"They had their moments and we had ours but if we don't take our chances then it becomes harder," added the Spain international.

"All we can do is congratulate Athletic and carry on because there is no other choice.

"We have to learn from the mistakes we made, which for sure were numerous, but also from the positives."

 

317

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
Residents count the cost of violence after black American teenager shot dead by white Missouri police officer.
EU's poorest member state is struggling to cope with an influx of mostly war-weary Syrian refugees.
Study says tipping point reached as poachers kill 7 percent of African elephants annually; birth rate is 5 percent.
Zimbabwe's leader given rotating chairmanship of 15-member nation bloc a year after he won disputed presidential polls.
join our mailing list