(CNN)Lionel Messi missed a first-half penalty but ended the day smiling as Barcelona narrowly overcame Athletic Bilbao 1-0 at the San Mames in its first fixture of the La Liga season.
La Liga: Messi misses penalty but Barcelona win, Real Madrid held
The result is sweet revenge for the Spanish Supercopa humbling -- which included a 4-0 first leg drubbing -- handed to the Catalan's by Bilbao last week..
And with arch rivals Real Madrid stuttering to a scoreless draw at Sporting Gijon later on Sunday, Barcelona has an early advantage in the race for the title.
Yet Messi will doubtless be concerned that he has now missed 14 out of the 63 penalties he has taken for Barcelona, and five in the last year for club and country.