Without an fuboTV (Try for free)., Barcelona lost 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao in the opening match of the Spanish league season thanks to a stunning late goal from Aritz Aduriz. It was a game where Barcelona had its fair chances to get a result, but the injury bug struck again with Luis Suarez leaving the game early before Aduriz put it out of reach late with what will be the goal of the week. Here's what to know from the match. You can watch more La Liga this weekend on
No Messi, plenty of problems
Messi hasn't played for Barca since the Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia in May. Part of that is due to being on international duty with Argentina at the Copa America. He's missed club friendlies in the past month, including the United States preseason tour against Napoli, due to a calf strain. He's obviously not at 100 percent, which is why he was rested in this one and not risked. While that may have been the smart thing to do, at the end of the day Barca could have used Messi at 75 percent.
Barca had just two shots on goal, and while they got the ball down the wing and into the box, they never felt like much of a threat outside of a few occasions. To their credit, they did hit the frame of the goal twice, but a lot of the chances came off individual bits of play. The teamwork to create golden chances just wasn't there.
Suarez lasted just 37 minutes in this one, Antoine Griezmann didn't look like much of a threat and the team just lacked accuracy and sharpness. Without Messi, this team is still quite good, but they are nowhere near as good as they are with him. Still, it's just one game.
Suarez injury could force Barca's hand
Going out in the first half was Suarez, and being substituted for a midfielder in Rafinha showed the intention of coach Ernesto Valverde to be more defensive. But the truth is, just like last year, this team doesn't have another striker who can fill the gap. Paco Alcacer didn't work out and he was shipped to Borussia Dortmund last season, and this game was a lot like last year's Copa del Rey final where the team just couldn't create chances from close without the presence of a big striker. Whether this makes the Barca bosses a bit more rushed in possibly bringing in another attacker like Neymar, they would be wise to find a true No. 9 that can be the striker of the future or at least be a formidable player that can come in and provide some depth behind Suarez. Sending Griezmann up top as the lone striker just isn't going to cut it.
As for a No. 9 who is a formidable player ...
Club legend Aduriz defines 'super sub'
Aduriz announced that this will be his last season, and the first game of his last season started off with a bang for the striker. He came on in the 88th minute, and in the 89th he did this:
One of the greatest goals in his career. One of the most underrated strikers in Spain over the years, he's the third top scorer in the club's history despite spending seasons with three different teams.
This is a massive result for Bilbao to start the season and gives them some serious momentum in what they hope is a year that they push for a European place.