Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Barcelona (AET): Xavi’s side dumped from Copa del Rey in last-16
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Barcelona (AET): Xavi’s side were dumped from the Copa del Rey in the last-16, despite Pedri forcing extra time with the last gasp and Ferran Torres scoring his first goal since Man City’s move
- Pedri equalized in the third minute of stoppage time to earn an extra 30 minutes
- But Iker Muniain hit a penalty at the end of the first half to seal the 3-2 win
- Muniain opened the scoring of the last-16 draw in just the second minute
- Barcelona equalized via Ferran Torres who scored his first goal for the club
- Inigo Martinez struck four minutes before the end for Pedri’s equalizer
- Xavi’s side took a double blow with Ansu Fati sustaining an injury
Xavi will need to win the Europa League if he is to take a trophy in his first season as manager with Barcelona after his side crashed out of the Spanish Cup in the last 16 leg.
Two goals from Iker Muniain for the Copa del Rey holders and Athletic Bilbao were worthy winners in the rain at San Mames.
After a fall in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup, a knockout in the Champions League and a 17-point deficit in LaLiga, this match was Barcelona’s best shot at silverware this season.
Iker Muniain scored in extra time for Athletic Bilbao to dump Barcelona from the Copa del Rey
Muniain scored a spot kick to secure a 3-2 win in the league’s last-16
But two goals Iker Muniain did it for them. He scored after two minutes and made no mistake from the penalty spot in extra time after Jordi handicapped Alba.
Barcelona also lost substitute Ansu Fati to injury in extra time and his tears pointed to another setback for the 19-year-old injury.
Barcelona were lucky enough to fill in at halftime. Nico Williams was a constant threat and got Athletic’s opener within two minutes. He raced away from Alba and when his cross went long, he ran to Muniain who fired his shot past Marc Andre ter Stegen.
Barcelona tied the score when Ferran Torres bent a shot past Unai Simon. It was his first since moving from Manchester City, but it didn’t stop Athletic from getting the upper hand. Ter Stegen made a good save from Nico Williams and again when he stopped a header from Raul Garcia from a corner from Muniain just before half-time.
Pedri scored in stoppage time for Barcelona to equalize with Athletic Bilbao: 2-2
Barcelona players celebrate with Pedri after his goal in the last seconds added extra time
But Barca suffered a blow in extra time when they lost Ansu Fati to injury
Athletic lost Oihan Sancet to a knee injury on the hour so Inaki Williams joined his brother Nico and they almost connected to give the home side the lead again. Nico crossed from the right and Inaki’s contact with the ball was good, but just too heavy to keep the ball low and it bubbled over the crossbar of Ter Stegen.
Ansu Fati was now up for Barcelona and he nearly played in Torres only for Iñigo Martinez to slide in with a saving tackle. It was now hectic from start to finish and Gerard Pique was shown a yellow card for a foul by Muniain.
Inigo Williams ran on Barcelona’s fastest player Ronald Araujo and beat him for pace. He passed him from the right and didn’t want to give him time to recover and went to the goal from a distance with a long shot on the crossbar from Ter Stegen.
Moments later, Marcelino’s team improved again. A free kick by Muniain was headed into the goal by substitute Alex Berenguer. Ter Stegen blocked it, but Inigo Martinez clambered into it at the far post, despite Pique trying to block it on the line. Several Athletic players were sidelined when Muniain crossed, but neither of them was Berenguer, so the goal stood.
Athletic scored again with their next attack, but this time the offside flag had been correctly raised with Berenguer offside before bringing in Nico Williams’ cross.
Muniain opened the scoring during the Copa del Rey last-16 draw in just the second minute
Ferran Torres equalized for his side 18 minutes later with a curling attempt
Torres’ goal was his first goal for Barcelona since he took over from Manchester City this month
Barcelona would have one chance to save their place in the cup in the four minutes of extra time and Pedri took that chance to send the game into extra time. Dani Garcia and Mikel Vesga rushed in from both sides to stop him, but before the sliding doors closed, he hit the equalizer.
It was extra special from the player who loves and added 30 minutes – in 13 of the last 16 matches he played in which extra time was allowed, there has been extra time.
But it started badly for Barcelona as Ansu Fati stumbled. While both Marcelino and Xavi tried to comfort the Spanish striker, Inaki Williams curled a shot just over. Sergio Busquets then knocked Munian down and was shown a yellow card.
Pedri – like Ansu Fati who had just come back from a long injury – also struggled, but Barcelona still looked closer to penalties, until an early goal came to end it. Jordi Alba grabbed Nico Williams’ cross and Muniain held his head to bury the kick past Ter Stegen and place Athletic in Friday’s quarter-finals.
Barcelona boss Xavi looks on during his side’s Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao
Bilbao stars celebrate for their fans after Inigo Martinez struck four minutes before time