Athletic Bilbao strike in extra time to dump Barcelona out of Copa del Rey… Iker Muniain’s extra-time penalty earned Athletic Bilbao a 3-2 win over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey last 16, with last season’s beaten finalists gaining revenge on the holders in a thrilling encounter.
Having opened the scoring in the second minute of the match, the Athletic captain stepped up to beat Marc-André ter Stegen from the spot in the first half of extra time. The penalty was awarded by the VAR after Jordi Alba was judged to have handled a cross in the area.
Athletic had been seconds from winning the game in normal time after Iñigo Martínez got the better of Gerard Piqué to score in the 86th minute – but Pedri produced a fine equaliser deep in stoppage time at San Mamés.
The game had been poised at 1-1 from the 20th minute onwards, after Ferran Torres’ superb strike – his first goal for Barça since joining from Manchester City. Muniain’s opener came from a beautiful cross-shot which curled past Ter Stegen and into the top corner.
Eden Hazard scored a late winner in extra time to help Real Madrid earn a 2-1 win at Elche, in a match where both sides had a player sent off, but manager Carlo Ancelotti hit out at fixture congestion after a gruelling game four days after his side won the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.
With the game goalless after 90 minutes, took the lead in the 103rd minute, moments after Madrid defender Marcelo had been sent off for a professional foul. Gonzalo Verdú scored the goal, his shot from outside the area deflecting in off Dani Ceballos. The 10 men responded quickly though, Isco redirecting Ceballos’ shot into the net.
In the second half of extra time, Eden Hazard picked up a pass from David Alaba on the break, rounded the keeper and slotted home for his first goal for Madrid since May. Hazard initially thought he was offside, but the goal was awarded by the VAR. At the other end, Elche thought they had grabbed a late winner, only for it to be disallowed for a foul.
Ancelotti described the fixture schedule as “absolute nonsense” after the team’s third knockout game in eight days, and the second settled in extra time. “It is inevitable that it has to change,” the Italian added. “I hope those who do it wake up and make a calendar that is fairer.”
“It’s a big accomplishment winning the way we did at Elche. I’m very happy,” added Ancelotti, who rested a number. “I think it was the game that gave me the most joy to win this season because the team showed a lot of strength. I have a group of players that has everything. They never give up, [and] have an extraordinary character.”
In addition to Real Madrid and Athletic, six more top-flight teams will be in Friday’s quarter-final draw: Real Sociedad, Valencia, Real Betis, Cádiz, Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano.
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