La Liga Santander Barcelona fail to take Real Madrid advantage in Athletic stalemate

Barcelona failed to capitalise on results elsewhere in La Liga after a goalless draw at Athletic Bilbao which means they stay third in the table.

The Basque side dug in from the outset with a well-organised defensive unit, looking to play on the counter. Joao Cancelo went closest to scoring for Barca but his 40-yard effort was cleared off the line by Yeray Alvarez.

With second-placed Girona losing at Mallorca, a win for Barcelona would have seen them move up to second. Athletic’s gameplan worked to a point, denying Barcelona clear openings, but they were unable to pose any serious threat when they did get the opportunity to break. Portugal full-back Cancelo was inches away from putting the visitors in front midway through the first half when he met Unai Simon’s clearance first time from just inside the hosts’ half.

Read Also: Bellingham goal disallowed as Real Madrid stage comeback to draw Valencia

The goalkeeper managed to backtrack to get a hand on the effort and Alvarez then desperately hooked the ball off the line. The pattern of play remained the same in the second half with both teams building neatly up the field but struggling to execute the right pass in the final third.

With the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie to come against Napoli on 12 March, Barcelona boss Xavi will not have been pleased to have seen Frenkie de Jong and Pedri both leave the field with injuries, the latter reduced to tears when he took his place on the bench. Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw at Valencia on Saturday offered Barcelona hope of cutting the gap at the top to just six points.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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