Barcelona’s Copa del Rey defense ended in the Round of 16 with a 3-2 defeat against Athletic Bilbao following 120 minutes of very contested play at San Mamés.
Barça performed poorly but showed amazing character by coming back from two goals down in regulation. However, the visitors conceded a penalty inside extra time, losing two of their players – Ansu Fati and Pedri González López to injury in what may be Xavi’s most devastating defeat of the season.
Xavi introduced Nico González, Ansu Fati, and Frenkie De Jong from the bench early on. All three significantly impacted the game, increasing the fluidity and predictability of Barça’s attack while also making the Blaugrana seem more threatening and firing more attempts on goal.
They never seriously attacked the Bilbao goal, though, and by the time they arrived at the last ten minutes, the encounter was much for the Blaugranas to take.
Athletic Bilbao 3 – 2 Barcelona – Highlights of Barcelona Being Beaten in the Copa Del Rey on Thursday
Barcelona, the current Copa del Rey champions, were eliminated from the competition after a 3-2 extra-time loss to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.
Athletic Bilbao defeated Barcelona 3-2 in the Copa del Rey round 16, with last campaigns’ fallen finalists avenging themselves in a thrilling clash at San Mamés.
Athletic Bilbao began the game with an extraordinary level of intensity, which Barça was unable to match. The Blaugrana failed to break free of their half due to poor passing and little forward movement. However, after 15 minutes, the Blaugrana began circulating the ball and appeared to regain control.
Barça began the game down a goal: 90 seconds in, Nico Williams outpaced Jordi Alba on the right side and crossed it along the ground to find Iker Muniain on the left. The Bilbao skipper spotted Marc-André ter Stegen – who was out of the spot and chipping to give his club the lead.
After scoring inside the 2nd minute of the game, the Athletic captain converted a penalty kick during the first half of extra time to beat Marc-André ter Stegen.
After adjudicating that Jordi Alba fouled a cross in the penalty area, the VAR gave the penalty.
Athletic Bilbao was seconds away from winning the game in regular time when Iigo Martnez beat Gerard Piqué to give the Athletic Club a lead inside the 86th minute – but Pedri equalized well in stoppage time.
From the 20th minute on, the game was level at 1-1, thanks to Ferran Torres’ spectacular strike — his first for Barça since signing from Manchester City.
Muniain opened the scoring with a stunning cross-shot that sailed past Ter Stegen into the top corner.
Eden Hazard scored the winning goal for Real Madrid
Eden Hazard scored a late-winning goal inside extra time to help the Los Blancos defeat Elche 2-1. Still, boss Carlo Ancelotti lashed out at schedule congestion following a grueling encounter 4 days after his team won the Saudi Arabian Super Cup.
After 90 minutes, the visitors seized the lead in the 103rd minute with the game still goalless, just after Real Madrid defender Marcelo was sent out for a professional foul.
Gonzalo Verd scored the goal with a deflected drive from outside the box off Dani Ceballos.
However, the ten men reacted fast, with Isco deflecting Ceballos’ shot into the net.
Eden Hazard scooped up a cross with David Alaba on the breakaway, turned the keeper, and tucked home his first goal for Real Madrid since May.
Hazard first believed he was offside. However, the VAR ruled in his favor.
Elche thought they had scored a late winner, only to have it disallowed for a foul.
What Carlo Ancelotti Said
Ancelotti referred to the fixture schedule as “complete lunacy,” following the team’s third elimination game in 8 days, the second of which was decided in extra time.
“Change is unavoidable,” the Italian added.
“I hope those responsible for it wake up and create a more equitable calendar.”
“It’s a significant accomplishment to win in the manner in which we did at Elche.
“I’m overjoyed,” said Ancelotti, who sidelined several players.
“I believe that was the victory that brought me the greatest delight to win this season since the squad showed tremendous strength. I have a bunch of well-equipped players.
They are unflinching in their pursuits [and] possess great character.”
What Comes Next?
Along with Real Madrid and Athletic, the quarter-final draws on Friday will feature six more top-flight teams: Cádiz, Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Valencia, Cádiz, Mallorca, and Rayo Vallecano.