Barcelona thrashed 4-0 by Athletic Bilbao
15 August 2015, Nirapad News: Barcelona’s defensive frailties were once again evident as the treble winners were humiliatingly thrashed 4-0 by Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana on Friday, Aritz Aduriz netting a hat-trick.
Luis Enrique’s men surrendered a three-goal lead against Sevilla in the Uefa Super Cup earlier this week before eventually winning 5-4 in extra-time, but the European champions were not afforded such a dramatic escape this time around as their Basque hosts took them apart, reports goal.com
Seemingly sensing Barca’s jadedness from Tuesday’s 120-minute ordeal, Athletic were sharp in the tackle and far quicker to the ball and, although the nature of the opening goal was by no means expected, the home side deserved to open the scoring 13 minutes in.
Mikel San Jose made the most of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s reckless dart out of his area to head clear, finding the net from 45 yards to leave the German looking stunned.
Barca appeared to produce as improvement at the start of the second half, with Tuesday’s match-winner Pedro striking the crossbar, but Athletic doubled their tally almost straightaway – Aduriz heading past Ter Stegen.
Aduriz slammed home his second just after the hour mark and then rounded off a fine individual display 22 minutes from the end, sliding home a penalty to embarrass Barca and take a huge advantage into next Monday’s second leg.
Despite what ultimately proved to be a disastrous day in Bilbao, Barca began the contest in typical fashion, dominating possession and getting the ball forward quickly as the visitors probed for an early breakthrough.
But, with Thomas Vermaelen starting in place of the rested Gerard Pique, Barca looked frail at the back and Ter Stegen was forced into an important stop to deny Aduriz at the near post in the 11th minute.
And just two minutes later Athletic were in front, as Ter Stegen’s headed clearance from outside the area was pounced upon by San Jose just inside the Barca half and the defender smashed a flawless half-volley over the stranded goalkeeper from the centre circle.
There was no sign of that freak opener jolting Barca into life, though.
In fact, the hosts looked more likely to double their advantage and a crucial Marc Bartra tackle halted Javier Eraso nine minutes before the break, with the midfielder all set to pull the trigger in the area.