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Athletic Bilbao oust holders Barcelona from Copa del Rey in extra-time thriller

Holders Barcelona were knocked out of the Copa del Rey after suffering a 3-2 defeat in extra-time at Athletic Bilbao in the last 16 on Thursday.

Athletic dominated a thrilling match and went ahead early thanks to a beautiful cross-shot from Iker Muniain who curled the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the top corner.

Former Manchester City forward Ferran Torres equalized for Barca with a brilliant right-foot strike from the edge of the area, his first goal for the club.

Inigo Martinez put Athletic back in front after 86 minutes, winning a challenge against Gerard Pique to score, but Pedri netted a fine goal in stoppage time to send the game into extra-time.

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

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

Barcelona’s disappointing campaign took another turn for the worse.

Eliminated at the Champions League group stage, they lost to Bilbao in a repeat of last year’s final which they won 4-0 and two of their most promising players, Ansu Fati and Pedri, were substituted due to injury.

Asked if their elimination from the competition is a failure, Xavi said: “I don’t like the word failure because we tried. But if we have failed here then let it be something to learn from … we learn from our mistakes and try again.”

“We have two battles left: Europa League and LaLiga. We fought until the end but in many moments Athletic bettered us with intensity, they were better than us, have to congratulate them. San Mames [is a tough place to play], especially with this Athletic team and this coach. They’re a tough opponent.”

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