The whole place in San Mamés
San MamÃ©s is never an easy place to go. Barca have struggled in recent seasons and today was no exception. Indeed, for much of the ninety minutes they were with their backs to the wall and Athletic was good value for their 1-0 lead.
A flash of inspired glow was needed, and it came from the left foot of Memphis. The Dutchman managed to save a point from one of La Liga’s most difficult journeys and, in doing so, celebrate his first official goal in the FC Barcelona shirt.
Athletic at the top
With Ronald koeman opting for the exact same eleven that started against Real Sociedad, the best chance of the first half by far fell to Martin braithwaite but the Dane could only send the ball floating over the bar.
Barca found their way to the net with a spectacular kick Ronald araujo, on for injured Gerard Pique, but the referee had spotted a previous violation and the goal did not hold.
Other than that, however, almost all of the serious action was taking place in and around Barca’s region.
IÃ±aki williams in particular, gave the Blaugrana defense far too much to think about. A brilliantly timed tackle by Frenkie de Jong most clearly prevented from entering, while Sancet pulled an effort of his own on the crossbar.
Neto was another reason the home side couldn’t make their chances count, and the only time he got beaten Araujo was there to clear the line.
But the Lions never stopped looking for a goal, and they finally scored it shortly after the break when IÃ±igo MartÃnez walked out of a corner.
Even after losing a goal, the Catalans struggled to create any real danger. Koeman sent Yusuf Demir for his first competitive game in hopes of shaking things up a bit, but Neto was still by far the busier of two goalies.
In the last quarter of an hour, De Jong almost got him with an exquisite chip that landed on top of the crossbar.
He might not have come in, but that moment seemed to wake everything up. A few moments later Memphis, one of Barca’s most active players so far, landed a fabulous left-footed strike into the net. His first goal in competition for his new club and we were finally back.
The equalizer changed the mood of the game even more. Barca had taken eighty minutes to really start working, but all the cogs were now firmly in place and a late winner was quite possible.
Memphis almost managed to get him from a position almost identical to his goal, but he slipped away.
The Athletic also had one last push. Williams junior scored on goal in the dying seconds and Eric Garcia had no choice but to shoot him down. The center-back received a red card for his efforts, but it was about the last action of the game.
Next Sunday, BarÃ§a is back at Camp Nou, where Getafe will be visitors.