News From Spain: Barcelona retake nine point La Liga title lead with Athletic Club win

Barcelona have reopened a nine point gap at the top of La Liga via a battling 1-0 win at Athletic Club.

La Blaugrana were forced to dig deep in the closing stages in Bilbao, as they responded to Real Madrid’s win over Espanyol, with a gritty three points in Bilbao.

The Catalans were far from their best in the opening stages with Brazilian international Raphinha firing home in first half added time, via their only real chance.

Raphinha strikes first! 👏🇧🇷

There was a VAR check, but the goal was given and Barcelona are 1-0 up at the break thanks to the Brazilian 🎯#LaLigaSantander

— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) March 12, 2023

Barcelona carried an intermittent threat after the restart, but they were indebted to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen late on, as the German produced two incredible saves.

How has that not gone in?! 😱

Barcelona are hanging on for dear life against Athletic Club at the minute!#LaLigaSantander

— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) March 12, 2023

Athletic Club looked to have grabbed a late equaliser, only for Inaki Williams’ brilliant goal to be ruled out by VAR, as Barcelona scraped over the line to victory.

Inaki Williams’ equalizer vs. Barca was ruled out by VAR because of a handball in the build up of the goal.

— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 12, 2023

Up next for Barcelona is a high stakes El Clasico tie with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou next weekend, ahead of the international break, with Athletic Club on the road at Real Valladolid.

Images via Getty Images