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Messi still waiting on 700th goal as Rakitic seals Barca win over Bilbao

The 699-goal Argentine had to be content with an assist as Athletic Bilbao were shaded.

Image: Joan Monfort

LIONEL MESSI REMAINS a 699-goal player, for now, after Ivan Rakitic grabbed the only goal in Barcelona’s win over Athletic Bilbao this evening.

The Argentine of course had a part to play in the decisive moment, uncharacteristically mis-controlling a ball at the edge of the box that rolled through for the Croat to slot home his first goal of the season with 71 minutes on the clock.

With 10 minutes remaining, Messi almost forced his way to the landmark goal. The 32-year-old drifted from the right flank inside and flashed a shot narrowly wide of the far post. Aside from two free-kicks driven into the wall, Messi went close again on 87 minutes, curling wide from outside the area after Ansu Fati engineered the chance.

The win leaves the Blaugrana three points ahead of Real Madrid, who host Mallorca tomorrow.

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Sean Farrell

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