Lionel Messi was at it again for Barcelona on Wednesday as the Catalan giants were forced to come from behind to equalize against Athletic at San Mames in La Liga.
The hosts opened the scoring after just three minutes when Inaki Williams raced through on goal and finished confidently to fire his side into an early lead.
Yet the Catalan giants did not need long to equalize with Pedri leveling the scores on 14 minutes. The goal came from a crazy pass from captain Messi which Frenkie de Jong just about managed to knock back to Pedri to head into an empty net.
The goal is the 18-year-old’s third in a Barcelona shirt following his summer move from Las Palmas. Meanwhile, De Jong now has two goals and two assists in his last six outings for Barcelona.
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Fans Love Messi’s Pass
Messi’s pass initially looked overhit and ready to drift out of play for a goal kick until De Jong managed to hook it back to Pedri. Yet supporters were left in no doubt that it was yet another moment of magic from the Argentina international.
The goal came after a bright opening by both sides. Athletic came close to making it 2-0 after catching Barca on the break for the second time in the match but firing into the side-netting.
However, Barca also had a good chance before Pedri’s equalizer. Messi combined with Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann to tee up Sergino Dest for a shot that was parried to safety by goalkeeper Unai Simon.
Messi and Pedri combined again to put Barcelona into a 2-1 lead before half-time. The captain played the ball into the teenager who backheeled it to Messi to place past Simon.
Griezmann Back For Barcelona
Griezmann was back in the starting XI after being dropped last time out for Barca’s 1-0 win over Huesca. The World Cup winner replaced Martin Braithwaite as coach Ronald Koeman made just one change to his team.
The France international picked up an assist in the second half by setting up Messi to hammer home Barcelona’s third of the night from close range. The assist should provide the Frenchman with a much-needed confidence boost.
Dembele was also in the line-up after impressing on his return from injury against Huesca, while goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made his 250th appearance for the club.
Barcelona headed into the match after a win over Huesca that left them fifth in the table and knowing a victory at San Mames would be enough to propel them into third, behind only Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
The Catalan giants were facing an Athletic side under new manager following the appointment of Marcelino. The former Valencia boss was installed this week after Gaizka Garitano was sacked following Sunday’s 1-0 win over Elche in La Liga.