Barcelona lost 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao in their opening La Liga in the absence of injured Lionel Messi. A solitary goal from Aritz Aduriz was all Athletic Bilbao needed to claim all the three points.
Barcelona had their fair chances to get a result, but the injury to Luis Suarez early in the game added to their woes.
With their captain Lionel Messi left because of a calf issue and Philippe Coutinho left out amid potential transfer to Bayern Munich in a loan move, the defending champions were ineffective in attack against the host.
Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann made their league debuts for the Catalan giant. However, they could not have much to celebrate as the visitor season got off to a spiritless start at San Mames.
The loss of Suarez to a first-half muscle issue just exacerbated what demonstrated a baffling trip for the guests, who twice hit the woodwork before Aduriz’s 89th-minute overhead kick won the game for the host.
Inaki Williams, who signed a new nine-year contract this week, got into actions immediately, stinging the palms of Marc-Andre ter Stegen from yards out before his low shot was saved from inside the box.
The Spanish giant were struggling to get into the game yet were presented a chance 31 minutes in, Lius Suarez picking Unai Lopez’s reckless backpass and striking the base of the left-hand post.
Shortly after that, the striker was unable to continue with the game because of a calf injury. His replacement Rafinha within a few minutes of coming on hit the crossbar with a plunging strike.
Ivan Rakitic came on at the break and sent a decent strike just a few inches over the crossbar. In all, however, Barca’s all-round play was woefully lacking in attack despite their vast possession.
Their miserable trip was exacerbated with few minutes to go in the regular time when Aduriz scored the winner.
Aduriz had earlier announced that this would be his last season, and the first game of his final season started with a bang for the striker. The striker came on in the 88th minute, and in the 89th, he scored one of the best goals of his career.