Messi, Ter Stegen extend Barcelona unbeaten run in La Liga | Quick Reaction and Player Ratings

Barcelona extended their unbeaten run in La Liga by achieving a hard-fought 2-0 away victory at the San Mames stadium against Athletic Bilbao.

Ernesto Valverde opted for a midfield including Andre Gomes, Rakitic and Paulinho. While common sense would indicate that such combination ahead of Busquets was destined for disaster given their obvious lack of the so-called Barca DNA, the truth is that the physicality and stamina they brought collectively was enough to contain Athletic's best efforts. Sure, Barca did struggle to have their traditional possession-based control as a result but, ultimately, it is hard to argue against the manager's selection after securing yet another three points on the road.

Lionel Messi, as usual, took matters into his own hands to give Barcelona the advantage before the half-time break after a trademark byline run by Jordi Alba. The Blaugranas' goal spurred Los Leones to push forward even more decisively but, fortunately for Cules, the visitors pulled together and managed to contain their continuous attacks, particularly in the late stages. In fact, the game was not fully decided until Paulinho scored Barca's second right before the final whistle.

Francesc live-tweeted the game at @TheBarcelonaPod:

Match Stats:

Player Ratings:

Ter Stegen - 9
Sergi Roberto - 7
Pique - 5
Umtiti - 8
Alba - 7
Busquets - 7
Rakitic - 6
Paulinho - 8
Gomes - 7
Messi - 9
Suarez - 6

Semedo - 6

Now it's your turn: Who was YOUR Man of the Match?

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