Barcelona’s list of disappointments this season got longer on Thursday with a loss to Athletic Bilbao in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.
Barcelona lost 3-2 in extra-time to add to recent failures in the Spanish Supercopa and the UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid also needed extra-time at Elche, but avoided an upset thanks to Eden Hazard’s late goal after the team went a man down and needed to come from behind to win 2-1.
Defending champions Barcelona could not get past Athletic despite equalizing twice in a rematch of last year’s final, losing after Iker Munain converted a penalty late in the first half of extra-time.
Munain put Athletic ahead two minutes into the match at the San Mames, before Ferran Torres equalized in the 20th with his first goal since joining Barcelona — a beautiful curling shot into the top corner.
Inigo Martinez restored the hosts’ lead from close range in the 86th minute, but Pedri Gonzalez sent the match into extra-time with a goal in stoppage-time.
Barcelona did not make it past the group stage in the Champions League and last week lost to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Supercopa.
“We don’t have any other choice than to keep believing in our project,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said.
At Elche, Isco Alarcon and Hazard scored in the second half of extra-time to send Real Madrid into the quarter-finals.
“I’m happy for Isco and Hazard,” Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “They haven’t played many minutes, but they came through today.”
Hazard came on at the start of extra-time and scored in the final minutes on a breakaway. He picked up a pass by David Alaba and rounded the goalkeeper before finding the open net for his first goal for Madrid since May.
Gonzalo Verdu had scored for Elche in the first half of extra-time with a shot from outside the penalty area that fooled Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin after deflecting off defender Dani Ceballos.
Madrid responded when Isco redirected a shot by Ceballos inside the area after being set up by Casemiro.
Elche thought they had equalized just before the final whistle, but the goal was disallowed because of a foul.
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