Barcelona thrash Bilbao as Dembele on hat-trick of assists

Barcelona hosted Athletic club Bilbao in a La Liga clash the Camp Nou
Barca needed a result as they are at the back of Real Madrid who had already secured three points on Saturday
Ousmane Dembele has a hat-trick of assists as Barca eased past Bilbao to close gap with Real to 3 points

Ousmane Dembele was on target and assisted three more goals as Barcelona prepared for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich by thrashing Athletic Bilbao 4-0 at Camp Nou in the La Liga.

Xavi’s team had already went ahead with a three-goal lead before half-time in Thursday’s mauling of Villarreal and they repeated the trick on Sunday as Sergi Roberto and Robert Lewandowski joined Dembele on the scoresheet within 22 minutes.

Having set up Roberto and Lewandowski, Dembele continued to be a threat to Athletic after the break and helped Barca add some gloss when he teed up Ferran Torres for a neat finish late on.

The result moved Barca back to within three points of leading team Real Madrid in the LaLiga table, with Los Blancos having moved clear with a 3-1 win over Sevilla on Saturday.

Dembele opened the scoring after 12 minutes, testing Unai Simon before nodding in Lewandowski’s cross after the striker had recycled the loose ball.

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele celebrate after scoring against Athletic Club Bilbao in the La Liga on Sunday, October 23 2022. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

There was more fortune about Barca’s second, which arrived when Roberto’s shot deflected beyond Simon from a tight angle following Dembele’s throughball.

Dembele played a role again in Barca’s third as Athletic crumbled, driving inside from the right to feed Lewandowski, who swivelled and lashed into the roof of the net.

Barca suffered a blow when Gavi limped off following a collision with Dani Garcia before the break, but they almost scored a fourth when Garcia’s clearance hit Pedri and crashed against the post.

Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao in the La Liga. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

Dembele showcased his creative qualities once again when Barca completed the rout after 73 minutes, drilling a low cross into Torres, who shifted the ball to his right foot before finishing coolly.

Barcelona manager Xavi was on the record after the match heaping praises on Dembele after the match.

“He was in the spotlight because he takes risks and it’s like a flip of a coin. He was especially motivated,” Xavi told Movistar.

“He understood everything well. He’s here to make a difference and he’s capable of doing these things.”

Barca raced into a three-goal lead within 22 minutes as Athletic collapsed, before controlling possession as Pedri repeatedly drifted inside from an unfamiliar left-wing role.

“We thought it was a game of intensity and rhythm, we understood that they were going to put a lot of pressure on us,” Xavi said of Barca’s approach.

“We put one more midfielder in and we attacked inside. We found the superiority and we matched their intensity, those were the keys. We showed solidarity and it was a complete game.”

Barcelona will next play on Wednesday as they will be hosting Bayern Munich at the Cam Nou in the UEFA Champions League before traveling to Valencia in the La Liga on Saturday October 29.

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