The partnership formed by Messi and Pedri was enough to win at San Mames and achieve Barca’s third consecutive victory away from home. In addition there are three points of those that like more since being a postponed game you only add yourself and cut differences to all your rivals.
In just five minutes it seemed that Marcelino had turned Athletic into a fearsome team.
First up was Williams who made it 1-0 in the blink of an eye. A Barca loss in the rojiblanco field a deep ball from Raul Garcia and the 9 runs through the middle of the field at full speed to face Ter Stegen’s are cut Lenglet and score low. Two minutes later again at full throttle down the left-wing and Yuri narrowly shoots out. I said it seemed that the new Athletic was a gale, an unstoppable team.
However, Barcelona did not break down. I could think that it was obvious that the change of coach was going to provoke strong starting emotions in the hosts of San Mames and that with the passing of the minutes, he could recover the ball the game, the chances, and the score when the foam of the cava off going down. So it was.
Little by little Koeman’s men were gaining ground becoming the owners of the ball and of opportunities. Unai Simon bolted Dest and Dembele with two great saves. It seemed that the head of the Spanish team was going to become the protagonist. and he did but in a negative sense. When a field player alternates one of lime with another of sand many times nothing happens, but when it is the goalkeeper who mixes hits with misses the normal thing is that he pays for it by conceding goals. first the edge of the quarter of an hour, a pass from Messi caught the goalkeeper without knowing whether to go for the ball or not. He hesitated and in those Pedri was seen only to head the tie. In the 38th minute, Pedri invents a heel pass to Messi in which the goalkeeper is misplaced. Bad business with the Argentine in front. Goal. In between Unai, Simon made good saves again of course but.
Marcelino asked his team at halftime to raise pressure lines.
It was clear that after what was seen in the first part it was not worth trying to come back. However, Messi smelled the blood and prepared to sentence the game. First, he scored on a narrowly annulled goal for offside then he scored a great shot at the post, and in the 62nd minute he finished off a pass from Griezmann with his left foot to make it 1-3. Issue resolved.
Of course Athletic was not going to throw in the towel. It does not matter which coach is on Lion’s bench that this team and especially in San Mames is not going to hand over the spoon no matter how much it seems that the fish is all sold out. The new coach moved a tab, put oxygen in the center of the field with Berenguer and Dani Garcia but Barcelona was already comfortable on the pitch especially if he looked at the scoreboard and saw how the minutes passed without anything remarkable to throw into his mouth.
The fact is that there was still time to dream of reversing the situation
But Barca threatened to win. Again the stick avoided Messi’s third in the 71st minute. It was another clear warning that Koeman’s men had plenty of football to make Marcelino’s debut big. Athletic began to live on the wire, they weren’t having minutes left for anything else either, and Barça backed off waiting for events and letting time pass. Time passed until Messi missed a pass that left Muniain in front to make it 2-3 in the 90th minute and continue dreaming. But nothing else happened. Now the Marcelino era really begins with more training sessions and the games against Atlético and Real Madrid on the horizon. At Barca, Koeman asked to win the January games away from home to dream of La Liga.