Barcelona winger Raphinha secured a 1-0 win in LaLiga for the second straight week this time at Athletic Bilbao as his side tightened their grip on top spot ahead of a potentially season-defining week in which they host second-placed Real Madrid.
Repeating the combination of provider and scorer from last week's 1-0 win at Valencia, Raphinha netted a thunderous strike right on halftime after a brilliant pass by midfielder Sergio Busquets who spotted the Brazilian ghosting behind the defence.
Barca survived a frantic affair in which the locals were the better side for large parts of the contest, having two shots hit the bar and an Inaki Williams effort in the last few minutes of the game ruled out for a controversial handball in the build-up.
Barcelona have 65 points, nine clear of second-placed Real who face a must-win game at Camp Nou next Sunday to keep their slim chances of retaining their title alive. Athletic are ninth on 33 points.