Football: Soccer-Holders Barcelona knocked out of Copa del Rey by Athletic


(Reuters) – Holders Barcelona have been knocked out of the Copa del Rey after struggling a 3-2 defeat in extra-time at Athletic Bilbao within the final 16 on Thursday as their tough season continued.

Athletic dominated an exciting match and went forward early because of a fantastic cross-shot from Iker Muniain who curled the ball previous Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the highest nook.

Former Manchester City ahead Ferran Torres equalised for Barca with a superb right-foot strike from the sting of the world, his first aim for the membership.

Inigo Martinez put Athletic again in entrance after 86 minutes, profitable a problem in opposition to Gerard Pique to attain, however Pedri netted a high quality aim in stoppage time to ship the sport into extra-time.

Man-of-the-match Muniain scored the winner with a penalty after the video assistant referee noticed a handball from Jordi Alba inside the world.

Athletic joined Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Valencia, Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano, Mallorca and Cadiz within the quarter-finals. The draw will happen on Friday.

Barcelona’s disappointing marketing campaign took one other flip for the more serious.

Eliminated on the Champions League group stage, they misplaced to Bilbao in a repeat of final yr’s remaining which they gained 4-0 and two of their most promising gamers, Ansu Fati and Pedri, have been substituted as a consequence of damage.

“We will see on Friday what they’ve however it’s worrying how Ansu Fati left the sport,” Barcelona supervisor Xavi Hernandez instructed a information convention.

“We knew that it might be a although recreation and I’m proud my gamers fought and gave their finest. We nonetheless have LaLiga and Europa League to combat for and we’ll do it till the top.”

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas, modifying by Ed Osmond)

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