The Uruguayan striker made the difference after Lionel Messi missed a penalty as the Catalans began their defence of the league title
An exquisite Luis Suarez volley sealed a hard-fought 1-0 win for champions Barcelona at Athletic Bilbao in their Liga opener as Luis Enrique’s men gained a measure of revenge for their 5-1 aggregate loss in the Supercopa de Espana.
Despite Athletic’s stubborn defending in the third encounter between the sides this month, Barca took the lead early in the second half through Suarez’s venomous strike.
A combative but lacklustre first half was punctuated by Lionel Messi’s penalty miss just after the half-hour mark, the spot-kick having been awarded in dubious fashion after Suarez took a tumble in the area.
Defending champions Barca grew into the game in the second half, controlling much of proceedings after taking the lead, though their bad luck with injuries continued as Sergio Busquets had to be carried off on a stretcher and Dani Alves was also substituted with a knock.
Athletic struggled to pose a threat as the match wore on, with Messi almost adding a second in the closing stages.
The contest got off to a sluggish start as depleted Barca, shorn of key players Neymar and Gerard Pique, struggled to penetrate Athletic’s well-organised defence.
Barca’s injury woes increased inside of 20 minutes, with Alves having to be replaced by Sergi Roberto after picking up an apparent ankle problem.
Aritz Aduriz – who bagged a hat-trick in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana – did go close for the hosts soon after, flicking a header just wide of the upright from Benat’s free-kick.
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