Barca suffer shock Copa exit


FC Barcelona were bundled out of the Copa del Rey following a defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday evening.

Quique Setien made just a single change from Sunday’s victory over Levante, with Sergi Roberto coming in for Antoine Griezmann, who dropped to the bench,

Barca had the first sight on goal following the opening five minutes, but Fati fired wide from close metres after feeding off good work from captain Lionel Messi.

The Catalans appeared to have been punished for the miss five minutes later as Inaki Williams arrived at the back post to turn home a flick by Inigo Martinez, but it was disallowed for offside.

A period of sustained possession from Barca looked to open up the hosts, but there was no end in sight for Setien’s men with Bilbao holding their defensive block following the final quarter.

Barcelona continued knocking the ball around just after halftime with no one on hand to pounce on the club’s trademark footballing philosophy. As a result, Setien decided to throw on Griezmann for Fati on 57 minutes.

Griezmann should’ve put the Catalans ahead on 71 minutes after a square ball from Roberto, but the Frenchman’s low shot near the penalty spot failed to trouble Bilbao shot-stopper Unai Simon.

Another big chance fell the way of the LaLiga champions as exta-time loomed, but Messi saw his low shot kept out by Simon after a ball from Arthur Melo.

However, Bilbao sealed the victory at the death after Williams capitalised on an inswinging cross towards the edge of the six-yard area to head home to send his side to the final four.