You can watch the Live Match stream of Athletic Bilbao Vs Barcelona via beIN CONNECT
Lionel Messi's return to the starting line-up was not enough to prevent Barcelona drawing a third successive match across all competitions, as Athletic Bilbao held out for a 0-0 stalemate at San Mames in LaLiga.
Argentina superstar Messi was only named among the substitutes for Wednesday's 1-1 Copa del Rey draw against Real Madrid having struggled with a thigh injury and he looked a little off colour as Barca end the weekend just six points clear of Los Blancos in second.
Athletic edged an entertaining first half and went close on a couple of occasions, while Barca appeared to be missing the talents of Arthur in midfield – Arturo Vidal failing to impress in a similar role to the injured Brazilian, who faces a month out.
Ernesto Valverde's side had little luck creating clear-cut opportunities in the second half - albeit Nelson Semedo was contentiously denied a last-gasp penalty – and could have even have lost as Athletic, who had Oscar De Marcos sent off for a second bookable offence in injury-time, went close twice late on.
Barca struggled to cope during the early exchanges and had two lucky escapes. Yuri Berchiche drilled just wide of the bottom-right corner before Markel Susaeta's curling effort forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a wonderful acrobatic save.
The visitors gradually gained a foothold and went mightily close in the 26th minute, as Iago Herrerin beat Nelson Semedo – who was incorrectly pulled back for being offside at the end of the move – and nudged the ball to Messi, whose first-time effort from distance hit the crossbar.
Barca were convinced they should have had a penalty at the start of the second half when Luis Suarez's header appeared to strike the arm of Inigo Martinez, but nothing was given.
Athletic nearly took all of the points in the final 10 minutes, Inaki Williams heading wide from close range, before then seeing Ter Stegen produce a remarkable reaction save to thwart him from just 10 yards.
De Marcos was given his marching orders late on when handling the ball, and Barca were denied a penalty with the last action of the game – VAR failing to reward them despite Semedo appearing to be caught by Yeray Alvarez.
Chance! Bilbao go close again! Substitute Mikel San José flashes his shot just wide.
Chance! Another effort from Raul Garcia which skims past the post! Bilbao have had the upper hand during the first half!
Chance! Raul Garcia sets himself up for a bicycle kick! The acrobatic effort is saved by ter Stagen! That would have been some goal!
Peep! We are underway in Bilbao
Warm up time for Athletic, last time they faced Barca they came away with a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp. I wonder if they can halt Messi & Co tonight?
Barca fans will be pleased that Messi is back in the starting line up!
👋 Guess who's back in the starting XI? 😏 pic.twitter.com/PJZApVjRLj— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 10, 2019
I'm a big fan of the rebuilt San Marmes stadium! We are set for kick-off at 10:45 Mecca!
Now for the hosts! Iñaki Williams will lead the line, with Iker Muniain lining up on the bench.
We have some team news! First up Barca! Guess who's back?!? Leo Messi that's who! Phil Coutinho gets a start, despite being linked with a move away from the club in the summer.
Likewis,e the Athletic dressing room is looking good!
Barca has arrived and are all set up in their dressing room! I wonder if Leo Messi will start tonight?
Good evening! Welcome to the Live Updates of Atletic Bilbao Vs Barcelona. Can the Catalans stretch their lead to eight points at the top of the table? Join me for all the team news, live match commentary and goals as they go in from the big game in northern Spain.