After Messi saves the day for Barcelona in injury time, Guardiola dubs the high voltage game as...
Coach Pep Guardiola insisted he had seldom been prouder of his Barcelona side despite their battling draw away to Athletic Bilbao causing them to lose ground in the Primera Division title race. Lionel Messi scored in injury time to preserve Barca's unbeaten start to the season as they struggled to a 2-2 draw in heavy rain at the Estadio San Mames yesterday. That result, coupled with Real Madrid's 7-1 thrashing of Osasuna earlier in the day, left Guardiola's team three points behind Madrid at the top of La Liga.
Fighters: Barca players celebrate a goal against Bilbao. Pic/AFP
In spite of that, Guardiola was delighted by how his team had scrapped against an Athletic team he described as "beasts" for their work rate and determination. He told reporters after the game in quotes carried by www.fcbarcelona.com: "How can I not be happy with the spectacular show that the 22 players put on for us?
Everyone enjoyed this marvellous game thanks to these very good players. This was an ode to football. "There are few days where I can be prouder of my players. They completely understood the requirements of the match."
Barca's Lionel Messi dribbles past Athletic Bilbao defenders. Pic/AFP
Gerard Pique's own goal gave Athletic the lead with 10 minutes to go. But Messi took advantage of a slip from Gorka Iraizoz in a drenched penalty area to lash home a late equaliser. Cesc Fabregas had earlier cancelled out Ander Herrera's opener.