Barcelona returned to the top of LA Liga with a hard fought 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou but star man Lionel Messi was lucky to escape a straight red.

The Catalan giant had lost grounds three days ago when they relinquished top spot to Real Madrid following a colourless goalless draw against Sevilla.

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Bilbao missed a glorious chance to nail Barca at their backyard as William completely miss-timed his shot fro inside the penalty box with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Barcelona made them pay in the second half when Ivan Rakitic finished off a fine move. The Champions held on for a slim 1-0 victory. Interestingly Messi escape red for a bad stamp on a Bilbao player.

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Barcelona return to the summit with 68points but might be replaced as early as tomorrow if Real Madrid beat Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabu.

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