Football

Dembele stars as Barcelona downs Athletic Club Bilbao in La Liga

Ousmane Dembele produced a man of the match performance against Athletic Club. | PHOTO: Getty Images |
  • Ousmane Dembele came off the bench to produce a man of the match performance for Barcelona against Athletic Club Bilbao in a La Liga clash.
  • Dembele scored one and assisted two more goals to help Barcelona with a 4-0 win over Athletic Club.
  • The win has hugely boosted Barcelona’s top-four hopes as it has taken Xavi’s side close to third place in the La Liga table.

Ousmane Dembele netted his first LaLiga goal of the season and added two assists in a stunning cameo as Barcelona moved back into LaLiga’s top four with a 4-0 win over Athletic Club Bilbao.

Dembele has become an unpopular figure with Barca fans after failing to agree on an extension to his contract, which expires at the end of the season, but his thunderous effort six minutes after arriving from the bench made sure of a Camp Nou victory on Sunday.

After Atletico Madrid had leapfrogged the Blaugrana with their win on Saturday, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his fine recent scoring form to set Xavi’s side on their way, before Dembele struck and then twice crossed for Luuk de Jong and the fit-again Memphis Depay in the closing stages.

Barcelona 4-0 Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring the opener for Barcelona against Athletic Club Bilbao in the La Liga clash. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

And with Real Betis beaten by rivals Sevilla, Barca is now just a point behind the third place with a game in hand as their season maintains its upwards trajectory.

Gerard Pique saw a header cleared on the line by Oier Zarraga while Ferran Torres tested Unai Simon with a stinging volley as Barca dominated the opening exchanges.

The reward for Xavi’s hosts arrived on 37 minutes when Aubameyang acrobatically finished after Pique headed against the crossbar from Dani Alves’ corner.

Torres should have doubled his side’s advantage past the hour mark, but his tame effort was pushed away by the onrushing Simon, who then denied Aubameyang’s weak header.

Dembele

Barcelona players celebrate after Ousmane Dembele scored against Athletic Club Bilbao in a La Liga clash at Camp Nou on Feb 28 2022. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Simon was powerless to stop Dembele, though, as substitute Frenkie de Jong found the winger, who smashed a left-footed attempt in from the left side of the box, earning a touch off the post as he put the game beyond doubt.

There was still time for Luuk de Jong to flick a header into the bottom-left corner following Dembele’s pinpoint delivery from the right before the France international repeated the trick to finding Depay, who turned in from close range for the final goal.

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