by Anton Johan
On the weekend Spanish football fans were treated to some exciting matches in La Liga
, the country's premier professional football league, including F.C. Barcelona's 3-1 win over Athletic Club.
Eager to catch current La Liga leaders Valencia, on Saturday F.C. Barcelona
displayed the kind of football prowess against Athletic Club that seems to have been absent from the team in recent showdowns.
For instance, F.C. Barcelona's lack-luster performance against Real S. de Gijón last time out attracted a lot of criticism. So much so that Barca manager Josep Guardiola must have had a serious chat with his team.
And whatever was said looked to have worked a treat, as the club seemed eager to return to its winning form against Athletic. But it was a tough game which saw two players - one from each team - red-carded.
From the starting whistle, both teams initially struggled to deal with the extremely wet conditions, however Barca eventually got their eye in first, proven with more than a few very close efforts at Athletic's goal.
However, neither team could open the scoring and the most memorable event in the half was the controversial sending off of Athletic back Fernando Amorebieta in the 34th minute, leaving his team a man down.
In the second half Barcelona upped the ante by attacking Athletic every few minutes or so, and in doing so steadily wearing them down. In the 55th minute Barca's strategy paid off, as Keita scored off a Villa pass.
The goal rattled Athletic, which made Barca ramp up its attacking game even more. But Athletic defended well, until in the 74th minute Xavi made it 2-0 for F.C. Barcelona with a stunning kick from outside the box.
In the 87th minute Barca fans clutched their heads as David Villa landed himself the second red card of the game, but by then the damage to Athletic was done. Even when Athletic's Bilbao scored in the 90th minute, Barca's Busquets countered just minutes later to cement the team's 3-1 victory.
The victory was enough to put F.C. Barcelona into joint second place in the La Liga standings (alongside Villarreal C.F.) but behind Valencia, who on Saturday effortlessly dispatched Real S. de Gijón 2-0.
Here are the complete La Liga football results from the weekend:
Athletic Club 1-3 F.C. Barcelona
Levante U.D. 0-0 Real Madrid C.F.
R.C. Deportivo 0-2 U.D. Almería
Hércules C.F. 2-0 Sevilla F.C.
Real Racing Club 0-1 Getafe C.F.
Real S. de Gijón 0-2 Valencia C.F.
At. de Madrid 1-0 Real Zaragoza CD
R.C.D. Espanyol 1-0 C. At. Osasuna
R.C.D. Mallorca 2-0 Real Sociedad
Málaga C.F. 2-3 Villarreal C.F.