FC Barcelona’s Copa del Rey Quarter-Final Loss to Athletic Bilbao: A Recap

2024-01-24 23:22:47

For FC Barcelona, ​​the Copa del Rey is over after the quarter-finals. In a breathtaking exchange of blows, the Catalans lost to Athletic Blibao and the brilliant Inaki and Nico Williams.

Finally put Bilbao on the road to victory: Inaki Williams (right) and his brother Nico. Getty Images

The evening in the venerable San Mames couldn’t have started much worse for FC Barcelona. Only 36 seconds had passed before the Catalans found themselves 0-1 behind after a lot of chaos in their own penalty area. Guruzeta had taken advantage of the disorder, which was then followed by the injury to the regular left-back Balde, who had to be replaced by the 17-year-old Fort after 23 minutes.

Double strike turns the game around after a 36-second deficit

However, the Blaugrana recovered from the unsuccessful initial phase and the brisk start of the physically very present home team and only struck back with a good portion of luck shortly after Balde’s departure. Yuri Berchiche shot at Lewandowski in the 26th minute while trying to clear the ball in such a way that the ball bounced off his leg and into the net, making it unstoppable for Agirrezabala – 1-1.

But that’s not enough. Just six turns of the hand later, Barça completely turned the game around. Lamine Yamal went solo in the middle of the opposing half, moved in from the right and fired a shot into the far corner in the style of one of the greatest in the Catalans’ recent history (32′).

King’s Cup, Viertelfinale

In an entertaining first half, San Mames subsequently took a few minutes to recover from this double blow, but then whipped Athletic back forward. The Basques converted the energy from the stands into a goal threat and narrowly missed an equalizer in the 42nd minute when Sancet’s volley from a corner was denied by Inaki Pena, whose opponent received the final exclamation point before the break. Against a shot from Ferran Torres, who had scored three times in the 4-2 win at Betis Sevilla at the weekend, Agirrezabala went all the way and prevented the guests from taking a two-goal half-time lead (45th + 3).

Barça overslept the second initial phase

In the second half, what had already happened in the first 45 minutes was repeated: Bilbao started powerfully and scored early. This time through Sancet, who was served by Nico Williams with an exemplary cross (49th). Shortly afterwards, things almost got even worse for the guests who were once again not completely focused, but Araujo decisively disrupted Guruzeta’s header (56′). The Blaugrana almost appeared again out of nowhere, but Lamine Yamal missed the brace while standing free in front of Agirrezabala, just like Guruzeta before (65′).

Lamine Yamal’s miss seals extra time

Overall, the Basque Lions remained the more active and dangerous team. Nico Williams in particular was never able to get Barça under control and was lucky a quarter of an hour before the end when the younger of the two Williams brothers who were now involved missed the 3-2 by just centimeters (74th). Shortly before the end, Fortuna also supported the hosts. As the last man, Paredes lost the ball to Lamine Yamal, who then circled around Agirrezabala, but then failed to place the ball in the virtually empty goal (86th). It went into overtime.

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Williams brothers shoot Bilbao into the semi-finals

The 30-minute follow-up was once again rung in by Nico Williams, who, after his brother’s preparatory work, only hit the side netting because Araujo made a decisive deflection (96th). So it looked like a goalless first half until Inaki Williams was released with some luck seconds before the end of the first 15 minutes, pushed the ball over the line after a one-two with the post and caused the San Mames to tremble (105th + 2nd). ).

Barcelona was therefore challenged, but no longer showed any final offensive. Instead, it was Inaki Williams again who missed the decision in the 113th minute when he booted a cross into the head of Inaki Pena, who was throwing himself at him. So the battle hunters in the Basque Country had to wait until the last action of the game before they were allowed to spin completely. After Sancet’s lay-off, the ball slid over Inaki Williams to his brother Nico, who hit the final score 4-2 with a fantastic shot from the outside of the foot into the gable away from the ball, finally crowning his outstanding performance and completing Bilbao’s semi-final entry (120+1).

With this big win behind them, Athletic continues in the domestic league on Sunday evening at FC Cadiz, where Ernesto Valverde’s team wants to score important points in the fight for the international places. FC Barcelona welcomes FC Villareal at 6:30 p.m.

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