Athletic Club kicked off their La Liga campaign in sensational fashion by beating the reigning champions Barcelona 1-0 at San Mamés in the season curtain raiser on Friday night.
Unai Simón – Capa, Núñez, Yeray, Yuri Berchiche – Dani García, Unai López, De Marcos, Raúl García – Muniain, Williams.
Subs: Sancet (De Marcos 65′), Beñat (Unai López 80′), Aduriz (Williams 87′)
Barcelona were missing their injured superstar Lionel Messi, but they were able to call upon new signing Antoine Griezmann in his place and they dominated possession of the ball in typical fashion. However, Athletic did manage to carve out a few chances, notably a long range effort from Williams in the first half that troubled Ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal.
Barça’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when he picked up an errant backpass to find himself through on goal but Unai Simón closed him down quickly and his shot hit the post. Unai Simón made another fine save to tip a long-range effort over the bar before the interval, by which time Suarez had gone off injured, making Athletic’s task just a little bit easier.
The match looked like it was heading towards a draw when Iñaki Williams was replaced by Aritz Aduriz in the 87th minute and it would have been a very creditable result for Athletic too, against such strong opposition, but the veteran substitute striker was to have the last word. Only a minute after entering the fray he met a Capa cross from the right with an acrobatic aerial scissor kick to send the ball flying past Ter Stegen and into the net to snatch a dramatic victory.