“Helped” by VAR, Barca continues to sing “only one”

Winger Raphinha scored the only goal in the Bilbao vs Barca match to help the Catalan team get all 3 points and maintain a 9-point gap with the second-place team.

Final result Bilbao vs Barca (1-0)

Scored: Raphinha (45’+1)

In the 87th minute, when Inaki Williams picked up a teammate’s slot, he rushed into the penalty area and shot diagonally into the net of Ter Stegen. But after going to the touchline to review the video, referee Jesus Gil denied the goal when he determined that his replacement Iker Muniain had let the ball touch his hand in a dispute with Frenkie De Jong earlier.

Raphinha scored the only goal of the match

After the match, Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde was dissatisfied with the referee’s decision and emphasized that “this is not football”. “It’s hard when you can’t see anything on the field and someone else does it with a telescope,” he added.

Valverde did not understand why VAR got involved, when the players, the lineman or the fourth referee did not notice the situation or react. Valverde once led Barca from 2017-2020 and won two La Liga, and returned to Bilbao to work for the third time in the summer of 2022, under new president Jon Uriarte.

The controversial decision of the referee helped Barca to secure a 1-0 victory to re-establish a 9-point gap over Real – the club won 3-1 at Espanyol in the early match. In the next round on March 19, the two teams will fight at Camp Nou.

Yesterday, Xavi replaced two starting positions compared to the 1-0 win over Valencia on March 5 when Gavi and Robert Lewandowski returned to the starting line-up. Gavi played in midfield with Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong, and Sergi Roberto was pushed down to right-back in place of Ronald Araujo, absent due to suspension. Lewandowski recovered from his injury and took the starting position of Ansu Fati. On the opposite side, Bilbao has five changes compared to the last match with Rayo Vallecano 0-0, with the return of main striker Inaki Williams.

VAR refused to recognize the goal for Bilbao because the ball touched Muniain’s hand (no. 10) before Inaki scored

In San Mames, home fans booed and threw red and blue sheets of paper with the words “Mafia$” in protest against Barca’s accusation of bribery by Spanish prosecutors in connection with payments to Former Vice President of the Arbitral Tribunal (CTA) Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira from 2001 to 2018.

Despite the pressure from the stands, Barca still entered the game well and created many opportunities. In the 2nd minute, Ferran Torres caught the volley with his right foot and went to the near corner to go down the post. Six minutes later, Sergio Busquets shot from outside the box over the bar. In the 16th minute, Lewandowski had a chance to face but pushed the ball long and was caught by goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala.

The second half of the first half, Bilbao regained the game. 32 minutes, Alejandro Balde lost the ball at home, creating conditions for Bilbao to counterattack. In the decisive situation, Inaki Williams finished in the near corner and failed to beat Ter Stegen. In the corner right after that, Raul Garcia flew to hit the bar with his head.

Wasting the opportunity, the owner must pay the price. In the first minute of compensation, Raphinha received the ball from Busquets and then crossed the corner to lower Agirrezabala. The line referee initially raised the flag for offside, but VAR then stepped in and recognized the goal for Barca.

In the second half, especially in the second half, Bilbao created suffocating pressure. In the 72nd minute, Berenguer penetrated the penalty area and then shot at a narrow angle and hit the post to go all the way across. A few minutes later, Iker Muniain cut his forte right leg to the far corner and was blocked by Ter Stegen flying. The host also had a series of opportunities in the extra time, but could not take advantage.

Thus, Barca has the 11th 1-0 victory after 25 La Liga rounds this season, thereby continuing to show an impressive defense. With 19 clean sheets, Barca is also far ahead of the second best team in Europe, Juventus and Lazio (15 games each).

Barca have only conceded 8 goals in La Liga since the beginning of the season, the best achievement among teams playing in Europe’s top 5 leagues. This is also a new La Liga record, when the previous best defensive record in the league belonged to Atletico Madrid in the 1990/91 season and Deportivo de La Coruna in 1993/94, each of which conceded the following 10 goals. 25 matches.

Line-ups for Bilbao vs Barca

Bilbao: Agirrezabala, De Marcos (Capa 84), Vivian, I.Martinez, Balenziaga (Berchiche 70), Dani Garcia, Vesga (Zarraga 64), Nicholas Williams, Berenguer (Guruzeta 84), Raul Garcia (Muniain 64), Inaki Williams.

Barca: Ter Stegen, Roberto (Fati 84), Kounde, Christensen, Balde, De Jong, Busquets, Gavi (Alarcon 90), Ferran Torres (Kessie 68), Lewandowski, Raphinha (Alonso 84).

Result – Spain Championship 2022/23 table today




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