Athletic Bilbao

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La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win, go level on points with Barcelona (video)

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Atletico Madrid’s victory over Athletic Bilbao, inspired by Angel Correa’s genius, highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Atletico Madrid 4-2 Granada

Diego Simeone took what many would consider to be a gamble prior to Saturday’s first whistle: starting Angel Correa over Diego Costa, Atletico’s goal scoring machine.

By the 64th minute, however, everyone at the Wanda Metropolitana and Simeone himself knew that the right choice was made. Correa – a low light coming into Saturday’s game – contributed the assists on both goals that handed Los Colchoneros their fifth win of the season.

Early on, it was Jan Oblak to the rescue, as Athletic’s attack cracked the home side’s backline. Specifically, the Slovenian showed off his impeccable abilities when, Iñigo Martínez’s header from a corner kick set piece, was just tipped over the crossbar.

The Basque’s club dominance wouldn’t last long.

In the 28th minute, following some mesmerizingly quick faints inside the penalty box, Correa laid it off to Saul, who made no mistake and put it into the back of net. It was the start of the Argentine’s special night.

Following a slew of uninterrupted passes, it was Correa again making the penultimate effort. This time, his darting, crossing service within the box found a well-positioned Alvaro Morata, who gently tapped the ball into the back of the net.

With the postponement of El Clasico, which was done because Catalan separatists are planning another large rally in Barcelona, Atletico will share the podium with leaders Barcelona for at least a week after their win against Athletic Bilbao, who host Espanyol next.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 1-0 RCD Mallorca 

Valladolid 2-0 Eibar

VIDEO: Barcelona beaten by 38-year-old Aduriz’s bicycle kick

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Barcelona’s 2019-20 La Liga campaign, and their quest for a third straight domestic title, began with a shocking defeat away to Athletic Bilbao, last season’s 8th-place finishers.

But, on the bright side (for neutrals and Barca haters, of course) it happened in the most spectacular of fashions.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Bayern Munich agree deal to loan Philippe Coutinho ]

38-year-old Aritz Aduriz made his early submission for goal of the season: the following bicycle kick from 14 yards out on a high, long cross into the penalty area (goal at 0:38 mark).

The result snapped Barca’s streak of having won their opening league fixture for 10 straight seasons.

To make matters worse, Luis Suarez suffered a muscular injury to his right leg in the first half and was subbed off in the 37th minute. Barca were without Lionel Messi due to a calf injury, but Antoine Griezmann made his competitive debut for the club after moving from Atletico Madrid for $135 million this summer.

On the bright side (for Barca), they did manage to agree a loan move for Philippe Coutinho to leave the club, presumably shedding some, or all, of his wages off their books for the rest of the season.

Reports: Man Utd to buy $99M Williams as Lukaku leaves

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Antonio Conte is getting his man, and that man is going to cost him a lot of money.

Now how will Manchester United react?

Romelu Lukaku will go to Inter Milan for around $94 million, according to Sky Sports, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Marcus Rashford and not much else at center forward.

[ MORE: Manchester United season preview ]

While Lukaku struggled last season, at least according to his usual playmaking standards, his 12 goals are still more than Rashford has recorded in a PL season.

Rashford recorded 10 goals and 7 assists in just over 2,300 minutes last season, while Lukaku had 12 and 1 in a bit more than 2,100.

A Sunday Express report says that Ed Woodward will respond by pulling the trigger on a near $99 million deal for Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams, who is Lukaku’s junior by 13 months.

Williams, 25, scored 13 times with four assists in La Liga play last season, including three against Atletico Madrid and two against Sevilla (though he was pretty streaky).

He’s also played just under half of his career matches at right wing, and he’s been plenty productive in the assist department when away from center forward.

La Liga: Messi saves Barcelona in draw, Sociedad wins Basque derby

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Barcelona dropped two points at the Camp Nou but it could have been worse, as Lionel Messi once again was the hero for the Blaugrana.

The star forward scored twice on either side of halftime, first from the penalty spot and the second from outside the box as Barcelona came back to draw Valencia, 2-2 on Saturday afternoon. Messi also took a knock to his thigh, raising doubts on his fitness ahead of Barcelona’s Copa Del Rey semifinal first leg on Wednesday against arch rivals Real Madrid.

[READ: Sean Dyche hammers officiating]

Twice, Valencia made a slow Barcelona backline pay on the counter attack within the game’s first half hour. First, Valencia’s Rodrigo Moreno drove through the middle of the field untouched before laying off a perfectly-weighted pass into the box for Kevin Gameiro to smash home. Then, in the 30th minute, Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto bowled over Daniel Wass in the box, giving up a penalty kick. Dani Parejo stepped up and confidently slotted home to give Valencia the shock 2-0 lead.

It only took five minutes for Barcelona to pull one back. After Nelson Semedo was tripped up in the box, Messi stepped up to the spot and sent Valencia goallkeeper Neto the wrong way to make it 2-1. Messi forced a save from Neto a minute into the second half, and he finally found the net once again around a crowd of defenders in the 64th minute on a curling left-footed strike.

With the draw, Barcelona remains atop the La Liga standings with 50 points, six above Atletico Madrid in second-place, though Atleti has a game-in-hand. Real Madrid is currently 11 points back, with a game-in-hand as well.

Elsewhere in Spain on Saturday, Real Sociedad its second consecutive win over Athletic Bilbao in the Basque derby. Both teams featured new coaches since the last meeting but the result was the same, with Sociedad winning, 2-1, over Bilbao. Mikel Oyarzabal, who scored two goals in the last meeting, scored the opener again for Sociedad, and Willian Jose added a second over the poor Bilbao squad. Raul Garcia turned in a rebound late in the match to make it interesting for Bilbao but they ran out of time.

In Saturday’s late match, relegation-threatened Celta Vigo shocked fourth-place Sevilla with a 1-0 victory. Mexican National Team defender Nestor Araujo helped keep a clean sheet for Celta. Also, Levante and Getafe played to a scoreless draw.

La Liga: With late help from VAR, Atleti rallies to beat Bilbao

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid rallied to defeat Athletic Bilbao 3-2 in the Spanish league on Saturday, with Diego Godin’s winner coming after a video review in second-half stoppage time.

Godin’s last-gasp goal was initially disallowed because of offside, but the call was reversed after the VAR confirmed the defender was in legal position when he headed the ball into the net.

The Atletico captain was playing with a muscle injury and stayed in the match only because Atletico had already made all three substitutions at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

The hosts twice came from behind after a pair of goals by Athletic forward Inaki Williams. Midfielders Thomas Partey and Rodrigo scored for Atletico in the second half.

The dramatic victory moved Atletico one point behind league leader Barcelona, which hosts Real Betis on Sunday. Espanyol can move past Atletico when it visits fourth-place Sevilla on Sunday.

Sixth-place Real Madrid, coming off three straight victories since interim coach Santiago Solari replaced the fired Julen Lopetegui, visits Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Atletico was coming off a convincing 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

The last-minute loss added to a disappointing season for Athletic, which hasn’t won in 11 straight matches and can drop into the relegation zone by the end of the weekend. Its last victory was in August. Since then, the Basque Country club has drawn seven matches and lost four.

Willians’ first goal was an easy tap in after a shot by Mikel San Jose struck the post and bounced in front of the goal line in the 36th. His second came after a fast breakaway in the 64th, entering the area and sending a low shot into the net three minutes after Partey equalized for Atletico with a powerful long-range shot, hitting the upper right corner from more than 25 meters away.

Rodrigo evened the match for the hosts again with a header off a corner in the 80th, scoring his first goal since joining Atletico from Villarreal in the summer.

Godin’s winner came after Partey sent a free kick into the area and Griezmann redirected the ball toward the goal mouth as the Uruguay defender appeared behind the defenders.