Barcelona held by Athletic for 3rd straight setback in Liga

Barca remained top of the standings, however, locked on 13 points with Real Madrid but ahead on goal difference after Julen Lopetegui's side lost 3-0 at Sevilla.

"He has discomfort in his knee and he can not play on Wednesday anyway", Valverde said.

"It's my absolute responsibility, we have four games in 10 days [actually 11] and I thought that Leo and Busquets had to rest knowing that we have a very hard match on Wednesday".

Asked about Pique's focus, Valverde said, "I see that he is very focused on football".

Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar pulled off a stunning double save to thwart Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic from close range in the closing minutes while Sergi Roberto skied a good opportunity as the unfancied hosts held on to record their first top-flight win over Barcelona. It was coming off a home draw against Girona and a loss at then-last-place Leganes. We have to be more solid.

Just 10 minutes after the restart, Messi was sent on for Arturo Vidal as Barcelona looked to find a way back into the match.

Nabil El Zhar scored the equaliser for the hosts with a fantastic header before Real Madrid's loaned player to Leganes, Oscar Rodriguez got the victor.

The referee reported the confrontation in his match notes.

Visitors Athletic led through Oscar de Marcos' first-time finish at the back post from Markel Susaeta's cross.

With so many games in short succession it made sense to rotate the squad, but Barca's hopes of recording a comfortable win over Bilbao with a somewhat weaker starting XI was hindered by a poor first-half. Athletic's third-round match at Rayo Vallecano was postponed because of security concerns at Rayo's stadium.

Second place is occupied by former Real Madrid star Emilio Butragueño, who clocked up a half century of games without being on the losing side in the league between 1988 and 1989.


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