Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Valverde: Barcelona won't ease off in title push

Valverde: Barcelona won't ease off in title push

Paco Alcacer had already given the hosts the lead at the Nou Camp, and the leaders went on to canter to a routine victory against a Bilbao side grateful they were not more soundly beaten.

"Every day he discovers something new, something different, he's very aware of what he has to do, what the team needs from him at each moment", Barca coach Erneste Valverde said of Messi, the Spanish league's leading scorer this season with 25 goals.

Barca are now 11 points clear at the top, with nine games to play after Atletico Madrid's 2-1 defeat at Villarreal.

Messi almost handed Barca the lead after four minutes but his curling free-kick was tipped away by Bilbao shot-stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Ernesto Valverde was unable to name the suspended Luis Suarez and injured Sergio Busquets in his team.

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Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann won and converted a penalty kick to put his side ahead at Villarreal in the 20th minute.

But Unal headed in an 82nd-minute equaliser for the hosts and turned home a stoppage-time victor as Villarreal climbed up to fifth.

The lead could have been far greater than 2-0 were it not for some good saves from Kepa and the frame of the goal denying Philippe Coutinho twice and Paulinho once.

The unbeaten league leaders slowed down in the second half and Athletic came into the game for the first time but despite numerous forays into Barca's area they rarely got close to troubling goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Ronaldo struck four goals in a game for the first time this season in Real's thrilling win over Girona.

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"Cristiano is very important to us, he transmits an incredible amount of energy for the team", Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.

The loss means Sevilla are increasingly unlikely to qualify for the Champions League through La Liga this season.

The post Messi On Target As Barca Ease Past Athletic Bilbao appeared first on Complete Sports Nigeria.

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