Barca suffered their second defeat within a week last night after being beaten by Athletic Bilbao one nil at their new stadium. After the match in a press conference, Barca coach Martino insisted that “we were the better side until the 70th minute. What really hurt us was their goal because we had had moments of control and some penetrating attacks”.
Martino followed up: “we aren’t used to losing – particularly two games in a row. We wanted to put things right after the defeat against Ajax. I think things would have been different if we had managed to score first – it would have been a different game- We had plenty of opportunities”.
Lastly,Tata Martino emphasised: “this team know what they have to do and how we have to play. I thought we saw a good Barcelona tonight, we came out well from the back – we knew that Bilbao would come out and press us”.
This setback may have cost the Catalan club dearly. It now allows Atlético Madrid to be on equal points (40 apiece) and lets Real Madrid in the back door who are now just 3 points behind them on 37. Athletic Bilbao have 29 points with Villareal right behind them on 28.This slip up by Barca has opened up the league, not only for Atlético Madrid, but for eternal rivals Real Madrid, too.
Athletic had a let-off on 57 minutes when Ander Iturraspe was shown just a yellow card when he brought down Neymar on the edge of the area who was through to goal and ready to pull the trigger.
Neymar, who had struggled with his footing to such an extent in the first half he was required to change his boots, took the resulting free-kick but saw his effort sail just wide.
As a matter of curiosity, Barcelona hasn’t yet won a match sporting the colours of the Catalan flag – La Senyera. The colours are dear to their Catalan fan’s hearts as it resembles the Catalan national flag.Barca lost the pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich 2-0, drew against Atlético Madrid 1-1 in the Spanish supercup, drew against Osasuna 0-0 in La Liga and against AC Milan 1-1 in the Champions League.
Tata Martino has some thinking to do as Real Madrid ramp up the pressure. New signing Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick in his club’s 4-0 win over Valladolid at the weekend without Cristiano Ronaldo.