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Barcelona, Real Madrid crash out of Copa del Rey

Lionel Messi

Bengaluru, February 7: Both Barcelona and Real Madrid crashed out of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals as for the first time in 17 years the last-four line-up of the prestigious competition will not include the La Liga archrivals.

Zinedine Zidane's side lost 3-4 at home to Real Sociedad, with Quique Setien seeing his Barcelona team beaten 0-1 at Athletic Bilbao.

Record 30-times winners Barcelona were sent packing after a stoppage-time header from Inaki Williams.

Spanish striker Williams glanced a cross into the bottom corner to spark jubilant scenes at a rocking San Mames stadium and recalled Aritz Aduriz's added-time goal in Athletic's 1-0 home win over Barcelona on the first day of the La Liga season.

They join Real Sociedad, Granada and second-tier Mirandes in Friday's semifinal draw.

The defeat heaped more misery on Barcelona in a tough week for the Catalans in which captain Lionel Messi spoke out against sporting director Eric Abidal and forward Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury.

Messi hits back at Abidal after dressing room criticism

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said the team needed to show unity and refrain from in-fighting, adding that the performance, if not the result, proved that they had moved on from the saga.

"Now isn't the time to air our dirty laundry, all I can say is we have 100 per cent confidence in ourselves and we are pleased with how we played reacted in the face of all this noise," he said.

"It's very tough to have been knocked out but we can take a lot of positive things from the game."

Coach Setien said he was hurt by the elimination, but was pleased with the display.

"Everything went well apart from the result," he said. "We took a step forward in our play and I'm pleased with many things we did, I'm not only looking at the result."

Messi spurned a glorious late opportunity for the visitors when he could only shoot at the legs of Athletic keeper Unai Simon and his fellow striker Antoine Griezmann also went close in the second half.

The game looked to be heading into extra time when Williams missed a gilt-edged chance but he made amends by getting the slightest of touches on a cross from Ibai Gomez in the third minute of stoppage time.

"I'm lost for words, you should never lose faith," Williams said. "The fans deserved this moment after the way they supported us and I now hope we can go on and fulfil the dream that we all have by going on to win it."

The victory must have felt like redemption for Athletic, who were knocked out of the Cup by Barcelona in 2017 and 2016 and lost to them in the final in 2009, 2012 and 2015.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Friday, February 7, 2020, 8:15 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 7, 2020
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