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Post by Admin on Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:56 am

Mikel San Jose opened the scoring before the Basques' star striker
seemingly ended the visitors' sextuple hopes by almost singlehandedly
destroying Luis Enrique's defence
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.
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
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.
Athletic had Gorka Iraizoz to thank for ensuring their lead remained intact at
the break, however, as the goalkeeper produced a wonderful flying save to
tip Lionel Messi's goal-bound free-kick over.
Seemingly following a half-time dressing down from coach Luis Enrique,
Barca came back out after the break with a renewed sense of urgency and
should have equalised four minutes in, but Pedro's fierce drive came back
off the frame of the goal.
Athletic's response was swift and devastating. Just three minutes later,
Sabin seized on a Sergi Roberto error and delivered a fine cross from the
left, with Aduriz rising above Javier Mascherano to net with a trademark
towering header.
Aduriz was again in the right place at the right time in the 62nd minute, as
he collected Eraso's squared pass and found the bottom-left corner.
A moment of rashness from Dani Alves saw the Brazilian concede a penalty
six minutes later as he bundled into his man at the back post, and Aduriz
took full advantage from the spot-kick, coolly stroking past Ter Stegen.
Barca looked incapable of mounting much of a response to the onslaught
and Athletic cruised to memorable victory, going some way to erasing the
pain of May's 3-1 Copa del Rey final defeat to Luis Enrique's men.

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