Saturday, February 8, 2014

8 February 1931 - Bata Batters Barcelona

On 8 February 1931, Athletic Bilbao's Agustín Sauto Arana scored seven goals against Barcelona to set a La Liga record.

Better known by his nickname "Bata," the 22-year old striker had joined Bilbao from Barakaldo during the previous season, scoring only once in seven appearances. Despite his modest production, the club won a league and Copa del Rey double. The league title was their first, finishing seven point clear of runners-up Barcelona, while getting a league-high 20 goals from Guillermo Gorostiza.

Gorostiza returned for the 1930-31 season, but Bata stole the spotlight, winning the Pichichi with 27 goals (Gorostiza finished second with 17). Seven of Bata's goals came in a 12-1 win over Barcelona, setting a league record that remains unbroken, though Barcelona's Laszló Kubala matched it in February 1952.

Bilbao went on to capture another double in 1931-32, with Bata getting 13 league goals to retain the scoring title. He won another two Copa del Rey trophies (1932, 1933) and two more league titles (1934, 1935) before play was suspended in 1936 for the Spanish Civil War. When football resumed in 1939, he had moved back to Barakaldo, where he remained until his retirement in 1943.

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