Valverde plan of resting Messi boomerang as Barcelona play 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid




Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde plan of resting Lionel Messi boomerang on Saturday as the Catalans made it three games without a victory after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Atletic Bilbao. Lionel Messi came on in the 55th minute at the Camp Nou and it was the Messi shot that was converted in by another substitute, Munir El Haddadi, with six minutes left to play. Before barca goal Oscar De Marcos had given Bilbao a comfortable first-half lead and despite a late rally, Messi and Barca could not find a winner.


Atletico Bilbao took the lead in the 41st minute and could have scored earlier. Inaki Williams attempted lob had Marc-Andre ter Stegen beaten but drifted wide. Ter Stegen had to push Raul Garcia’s effort over and was then rounded by Williams but the angle proved too tight.


Barcelona were not without opening themselves, as Suarez was twice denied by Unai Simon but Bilbao looked the more likely to score. Ousmane Dembele conceded possession and Markel Susaeta’s cross was perfectly weighted to evade the scrambling Sergi Roberto at the back post, where De Marcos slid the ball home.


Valverde waited until 10 minutes after half-time before introducing Messi and Busquets. Sergi and Arturo Vidal made way, the latlter with a glare and shake of the head. Messi got to work. His bending free-kick looked destined for the corner, only for De Marcos to head off the line and another shot hit the post.



Munir replaced Dembele and this last substitution paid off. Messi shot twice, the first scrambled away by Simon but the second fizzed across the face of goal for Munir to divert in. Barcelona wanted a winner and they had six minutes to find one. There was to be no late drama, however, as Bilbao grabbed a well-deserved point.
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