Barcelona were defeated in their opening match of the 2019-20 La Liga season. The Catalans were without their key man and club legend, Lionel Messi, but Athletic Bilbao won the game in the dying moments with a sensational 86th minute goal from substitute, Aritz Aduriz, who converted a sublime acrobatic effort with his very first kick of the game.
Barcelona got another blow when Luis Suarez departed the game injured in the San Mames stadium. He went down with an injury and was unable to continue after missing a goal scoring chance on the half hour. He was misjudged to be in an offside position by Unai Lopez, Bilbao midfielder, who gifted the ball to the Uruguayan forward but Suarez’s effort came off the bar.
Suarez fell to the ground, holding his right calf. He could not play anymore. Ernesto Valverde brought in Rafinha to replace the 31-year-old forward. Rafinha made an instant impact, hitting the woodwork like his predecessor.
Barcelona looked hapless in attack. The new man from Atletico, Antione Greizmann, failed to rise to the occasion in the absence of Lionel Messi. It was so evident that Barcelona were out of sorts from the opening minutes when Inaki Williams, who just signed a new nine-year contract at Athletic Bilbao, plunged at Barcelona’s defense, piling all the attack pressure.
Barcelona goalie, Marc Andre ter Stegen, was called into action more often than not. It took an acrobat from the 38-year-old striker, Aduriz, to beat the German international in goal.
Both Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong tasted their first defeat in the colours of Barcelona since their arrival in the summer transfer window from Atletico Madrid and Ajax respectively. The match ended 1-0 in favour of Bilbao.