Football: Barcelona close in on Real Madrid
12:00 AM, February 05, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:51 AM, February 05, 2017

Barca close in on Real

Lionel Messi struck another trademark free-kick as Barcelona moved to within a one point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Madrid have two games in hand, the first of which was supposed to take place on Sunday at Celta Vigo.

However, wind damage to Celta's Balaidos stadium has left the ground unsafe to hold the game, according to the mayor of Vigo. Neither the club nor La Liga would say whether the match will go ahead however.

Barca took their chance to apply pressure at the Camp Nou, but needed some wasteful finishing by Athletic in a much tighter game than the scoreline suggests.

Luis Enrique again made a raft of changes with the second leg of Barca's Copa del Rey semifinal against Atletico Madrid looming Tuesday.

Luis Suarez was left on the bench to allow Paco Alcacer a rare start and he netted his first La Liga goal since joining from Valencia for 30 million euros ($32 million) in August.

Athletic should have been in front before Alcacer's 18th minute opener as Raul Garcia's low effort was turned onto the post by Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Inaki Williams headed wide when unmarked from 12 yards out.

Alcacer has endured a torrid time since joining Barca, but settled the hosts when he turned home Neymar's cut-back inside Gorka Iraizoz's near post.

However, Barca got another break moments later when Gerard Pique was lucky to only see a yellow card for hauling down Garcia on the edge of the box.

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