Luis Suarez' volley spared the blushes of Barcelona and particularly Lionel Messi as Barcelona narrowly defeated Athletic to kick off the defence of their La Liga crown.
Barca were embarrassed by Bilbao last week as they suffered a 5-1 loss on aggregate in the Supercopa, including a 4-0 loss in the San Mames - the venue for today's game.
With that in mind it was understandable why Luis Enrique's men adopted a more conservative style of playing today, especially given the confidence the home side would have gained from winning their first trophy since 1984.
Former Liverpool talisman Suarez would get the only goal of the game but he was involved in a penalty that Messi missed in the 30th-minute as goalkeeper Iraizoz got a hand to it.
With the Argentine failing to score for just the 3rd time in 13 appearances against Bilbao, the onus was on the last member of the fabled 'MSN' trio to step up given Neymar's absence. Suarez did so in the 54th-minute with a wonderful volley from Jordi Alba's cross on the left-wing.
Alves was later joined by Sergio Busquets in the treatment room as he twisted his ankle awkwardly. In addition to Neymar's absence with mumps as well as Pedro and Adama Traore being sold to Chelsea and Aston Villa this week, the Blaugrana are short on numbers.
With Alexis Vidal and Arda Turan unable to be registered until January 2016 due to Barca's ban from the transfer market, they will hope the injured trio make a speedy recovery as they look to hold off Atletico Madrid (who won their opening game) and Real Madrid (who play after Barca).