Barcelona scores quick goals again, stays near Real Madrid
Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele, top left, attempts a head at goal to scores his side's opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Athletic Club at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, October 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

MADRID (AP) — Barcelona is not wasting time putting its opponents away in the Spanish league.

After scoring three goals in the space of seven minutes in a win over Villarreal on Thursday, Barcelona found the net three times in a 10-minute span on Sunday to beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0 and stay close to leader Real Madrid at the top of the standings.

The league victory comes three days before the Catalan club will look for close to a miracle to avoid elimination in the Champions League. Barcelona hosts Bayern Munich but needs Inter Milan not to defeat last-place Viktoria Plzen at home in the other group match.

Ousmane Dembélé, Sergi Roberto and Robert Lewandowski scored a goal each early in the first half at Camp Nou to put Barcelona on track to its second straight win after a loss in the “clásico” against Madrid.

“We came out strong and got everything right in those 10 minutes," Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said. "That allowed us to stay in control during the rest of the match.”

Dembélé scored with a header in the 12th, Roberto increased the lead from close range in the 18th and Lewandowski netted his fifth goal in four matches from inside the area in the 22nd. Ferran Torres sealed the victory in the 73rd.

Barcelona is three points behind Madrid, which beat Sevilla 3-1 at home on Saturday. Barcelona is five points in front of third-place Atlético Madrid, which beat Real Betis 2-1 on the road on Sunday.

Barcelona had beaten Villarreal 3-0 at home on Thursday, with Lewandowski scoring twice.

“We have recovered well after the Madrid loss,” Busquets said. “We played well against Villarreal and today. We will keep fighting at the top.”

Athletic, winless in four straight games and led by former Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, stayed in sixth place.

Barcelona saw both Gavi Páez and Roberto replaced because of injuries.

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