Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona: Final score 1-0, Blaugrana suffer their first league loss of the season

David Ramos

Iker Muniain's goal in the 70th minute led Athletic Bilbao to their first victory over Barcelona since 2006 and handed the league leaders their first league loss of the season.

Iker Muniaín was four years old the last time Athletic Bilbao defeated Barcelona. Thanks to the 20-year-old's goal in the 70th minute, that streak of dominance is over as Athletic Club defeated Barca, 1-0, at the new San Mamés.

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Athletic Club pressed hard from the opening window but it was only a matter of time before that aggressive style opened up space for Barcelona to exploit. In the 12th minute the Blaugrana nearly opened the scoring when Andrés Iniesta fed a lovely through ball to Alexis Sánchez, who couldn't quite handle the pass. Neymar followed up, though, jumping on the loose ball and firing a rising shot that was tipped over the cross bar by Gorka Iraizoz.

Muniaín had an excellent chance to give the home side a lead in the 29th minute after Markel Susaeta's cross into the Barca box was deflected by Iniesta and curled behind the defensive line. Muniaín snuck in from the far post but his toe poke attempt was smothered by José Manuel Pinto.

Neymar spent much of the first half slipping on the San Mamés pitch and even took advantage of an injury stoppage late in the half to switch boots. His ability to get traction on the grass didn't improve early in the second half when in 50th minute, Sánchez brought down a long ball in the Athletic area and centered to Neymar. The Brazilian peaked at the keeper and in that split second the ball moved on him and as he tried to adjust, he again slipped and failed to get a shot off.

The Brazilian again caused some problems in the 57th minute, breaking behind the Athletic defense and looking to be in free on Iraizoz until he was pulled down by Ander Iturraspe on the edge of the box. The Athletic defender was shown a yellow card and was probably lucky not to see red. The subsequent free kick went wide of the goal.

Athletic were still pressing, though, and kept getting closer and closer until, in the 70th minute, they broke through after the Basque side created a turnover and countered quickly. Susaeta's cross in from the right eluded two Barcelona defenders and Muniain, despite being behind Martin Montoya, stuck his foot around the defender and directed the shot past Pinto to put Athletic up 1-0.

Four minutes later, Pinto kept Barcelona in the match as he denied Gaizka Toquero on a point-blank header after the striker had parked himself in front of the goal unmarked.

Despite an increased sense of urgency from Barca, their attack remained stale and they simply couldn't create a good chance in the final minutes and were forced to accept their first league loss of the season.

Athletic Club: Iraizoz, Iraola, Gurpegi, Laporta, Balenziaga (Albizua 82'), Iturraspe, Rico (San Jose 88'), Susaeta, Herrera, Muniain (Goméz 86'), Toquero

Goals: Muniain (70')

Barcelona: Pinto, Montoya, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi (Roberto 77'), Iniesta (Pedro 84'), Sánchez, Neymar, Fábregas

Goals: None

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