Lionel Messi’s second-half winner enabled Barcelona to pass a stern examination presented by Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou with a 2-1 triumph.
The brilliant Argentinian struck in the 78th minute after a penalty by Andoni Iraola cancelled out David Villa’s opener.
Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros’ bold introduction of striker Gaizka Toquero at the interval had threatened to reap dividends after asking questions of the Catalan giants, who drew their last league game at Sporting Gijon and were beaten by Arsenal in midweek.
Pep Guardiola had to field Jose Manuel Pinto in place of keeper Victor Valdes who missed his first La Liga game for two years and could be out for several weeks with a knee problem.
Andoni Iraola Goal
Lionel Messi Goal