|Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Barcelona: Copa del Rey
FC Barcelona lost their first game of 2017 and the first leg of their 2016/2017 Copa del Rey Round of 16 clash against Athletic Bilbao at the San Mamés after falling down 2-1.
Quick fire goals from Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams ensured that Lionel Messi’s second half free kick was merely a consolation as the hosts ran out 2-1 winners in a game that saw them reduced to 9-men after picking up two red cards.
Athletic started the game with a fast pace pressing Barça high up the pitch and unsettling them, they dictated the play early on and got the opener after 25 minutes through Aduriz who did well to win a loose ball by Iniesta before being the play by heading home. Aduriz became provided three minutes later as poor defending allowed Williams grab their second. Barça looked lost.
The game intensified after then with Aduriz lucky to escape a sending off after a terrible challenge on Umtiti which surprisingly saw the defender booked. Neymar came close later on but was denied by Iraizoz. Barça thought they should’ve had a penalty when Etxeita clearly fouled Neymar in the box late in the second half but referee Fernandez Borbalan waved it off and booked the Barça players that protested.
Barça pulled one back after the break when Lionel Messi fired in a curling free kick to beat Iraizoz. Barça dominated proceedings thereafter and came close on numerous occasions and despite Raul Garcia and Iturraspe picking up sending offs Barça couldn’t get the equaliser, Messi hit the post with the last shot of the game and it just wasn’t Barça’s day, the Catalans have a chance to turn around the tie six days later in the second leg at the Camp Nou.