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Athletic eats Barça for the Cup

Iñaki and Nico Williams decide in extra time (4-2) a well-deserved ticket to the semifinals in San Mamés.

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Athletic eats Barça for the Cup

Iñaki and Nico Williams decide in extra time (4-2) a well-deserved ticket to the semifinals in San Mamés


Athletic Club eliminated FC Barcelona from the Copa del Rey (4-2) after winning an exciting quarterfinal match this Wednesday in San Mamés, where the local team deserved to go through, thanks to Iñaki Williams' decisive goal in extra time , which followed that of his brother Nico, two main actors in Bilbao.

Ernesto Valverde's men did more merits, in addition to goals, than a Barça that failed at the back and in attack entrusted itself to a 16-year-old boy. For the second game in a row, Lamine Yamal was the best Barça player but, despite a great goal 'like Messi', the young youth squad player is not currently the Argentine '10' nor could he become a hero on the two occasions he had to score in the second time.

Xavi's team trailed from 1-0 in the first minute and, although they turned the score around, they were subdued in play and physicality in the second period. Despite saving himself and having some possession to breathe in extra time, the 'king of Cups' received punishment from Iñaki Williams, recently arrived from the Africa Cup, for waiting for the extra time break. From the Ivory Coast to Bilbao to give the 'lions' their fifth consecutive Cup semi-final.

The goal in the first minute was too much noise even for San Mamés. Athletic unconsciously calmed its usual initial roar with the feeling of already having its homework done and Barça soon controlled possession and began to look up. Xavi was changing the face of the poem that was left with the 1-0.

The culé team once again sinned from fragility at the back, unable to clear a rojiblanco attack that caused a bad pass from Yamal. Guruzeta did not forgive but he killed the Bilbao cornet in one minute. The local team had another one, but Ahtletic's pressure eased and Barça gained confidence until they started playing.

Xavi's expression went a little wrong with Balde's injury, but Héctor Fort performed wonderfully and fortune changed with the score at 1-1. Between Ferran and Pedri the ball reached the local area and Yuri's clearance found Lewandowski's boot for the tie around the half-hour mark. Athletic was left in no man's land and in that confusion even the second visitor arrived.

Yamal, who had just shined against Betis, excelled with a diagonal to cross the score with his left foot to make it 1-2. Barça then entered a dangerous zone again, where Athletic was undoubtedly going to respond like a wounded lion. Iñaki Peña saved the tie before the break and, shortly after the restart, Sancet made it 2-2 with a header.

The Spanish international arrived from the second row with a lot of danger in the arrondissement of Valverde's men, this time willing not to lift their foot. Barça had to suffer without the ball, also failing in defense, the Basque team being very aggressive in accumulating good chances. Unai Gómez, who entered at half-time, and Guruzeta had the third, and Valverde added more wood with Iñaki Williams.

Lightning trip to the Africa Cup, the striker soon became another problem for a subdued Barça but they had two very clear ones. Both were from Yamal, with Athletic leading, but the young Spanish international forgave, in the 65th and 86th minutes. In between, Xavi's team defended itself as best it could and Valverde's team barely missed Nico Williams or Sancet.

In extra time, Barça was able to breathe because the Basques chose to bite low and go on the counterattack. An interesting respite for the Catalans, with Joao Félix already on the field, but there was no clarity in front of the wall. Nico and Iñaki Williams had more danger in their intentions than an entire Barça incapable of seeking the rival goal and that erred on the side of conformity in the final 3-2.

He did not want to go to the opposite field just before the extra time break and, after a bad pass to Sergi Roberto, the fierce pressure from Valverde's team caught the visitors out. Iñaki hit the post and on the rebound he did not forgive the goal that was heard even in the Ivory Coast. The Cathedral burst, Barça had the option of Marc Guiu, but Nico closed the party for an Athletic that flies higher than the Catalans, without another title like 10 days ago in the Super Cup.

--RESULT: ATHLETIC CLUB, 4 - FC BARCELONA, 2. (1-2, at halftime).

ATHLETIC CLUB: Agirrezabala; Place (De Marcos, min.90), Vivian, Paredes, Yuri; Prados (Herrera, min.90), Vesga (Unai Gómez, descanso; Jauregiza, min.100); Adu Ares (Iñaki Williams, min.59), Sancet, Nico Williams and Cruzeta (Villalibre, min.73).

FC BARCELONA: Iñaki Peña; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen (Pau Cubarsí, min.70), Balde (Héctor Fort, min.23); F. de Jong, Gundogan, Pedri (Sergi Roberto, min.100); Lamine Yamal (Marc Guiu, min.106), Lewandowski (Joao Félix, min.78) and Ferran.

1 - 0, min.1, Guruzeta.

1 - 1, min.26, Lewandowski.

1 - 2, min.32, Yamal.

2 - 2, min.49, Sancet.

3 - 2, min.105 2, Iñaki Williams.

4 - 2, min.121, Nico Williams.

--REFEREE: Sánchez Martínez (C. Murciano). He cautioned Sancet (min.36), Prados (min.83), Herrera (min.109) and Nico Williams (min.122) for Athletic Club. And to Christensen (min.17), Ferran (min.82), Fort (min.84), Yamal (min.95), De Jong (min.115) and Sergi Roberto (min.117) at Barça.

--STADIUM: San Mamés, 50,403 spectators.