|Neymar celebrates vs Athletic Bilbao|
FC Barcelona struggled to qualify for the Copa del Rey quarter final as they needed some individual masterclass in the second leg to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit against Athletic Bilbao in the Round of 16, with goals from Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez giving them a fine 3-1 win, just what was needed to progress into the quarter final.
The win against Athletic Club was the club’s first in 2016 and it may just be sufficient to bring back confidence among the players, something that will be crucial in this stage of the competition where a single imperfection could mean all hopes of winning a third consecutive Spanish Cup crown are dashed.
Along with Barça, seven other teams qualified for the Quarter finals (obviously). Real Madrid defeated Sevilla 6-3 on aggregate to progress while other rival Atlético Madrid got a scrappy 4-3 aggregate result to knock out Barcelona’s next Liga opponent, Las Palmas. Real Sociedad put up an impressive show to beat highflying Villarreal 4-2 on aggregate after their fine 3-1 win in the first leg while Celta Vigo got the better of Valencia. The other three teams are Eibar, Alcorcón and Alavés, the ones every fan will hope to get.
Barça could draw any of these teams but the logical preference is to avoid Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at first.. Then Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad the next hurdle although.. Alcorcón seems to be the most favourable possible opponent as they are the only team not in Spanish top flight division that qualified for the quarter final.
Personally, I’d want a Clásico in the next round so one of us could just go.. Then Atletí in the semis if possible, not sure every other fan has my taste though.
Barça’s possible Copa del Rey Quarter Final opponents: Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, Deportivo Alavés, SD Éibar, Alcorcón.
Games would be played as early as 18th of January (first leg), and 25th of January (second leg). Specific dates and time will be announced after the draw.