Fabregas salutes battling Barca

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Cesc Fabregas paid tribute to the battling spirit of Barcelona after a last-gasp equaliser salvaged a point against Athletic Bilbao.

Lionel Messi struck in injury-time at San Mames after Gerard Pique's 80th minute own goal gave the hosts the lead for the second time in proceedings. Ander had put Los Leones in-front on 20 minutes, before Fabregas leveled proceedings four minutes later.

The point took Pep Guardiola's side past Valencia and into second in La Liga, and despite Real Madrid holding a three point advantage at the top of the table, the former Arsenal skipper believed it was a great point in the circumstances.

"It was a typical San Mames match. Bilbao are a team that possess fantastic grit and effort," he told Spanish publication AS post-match.

"We have managed to remain undefeated. The last two goals were the result of defensive errors from both teams. We knew that once they started to be coached by [Marcelo] Bielsa, combined with them being a historic rival of ours, it would be very complicated."

The 24-year-old's attentions quickly turned to Barca's next clash, facing Segunda B minnows Hospitalet in the Copa del Rey.

"We showed great character and I am very happy. The important thing for me is to help the team, but now we must think of Hospitalet."

International proceedings will come first for Fabregas though, with the central midfielder included in the squad to face England at Wembley this weekend. It will be his first return to play in England since leaving the Gunners in the summer transfer window.

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