Barcelona suffered a shock exit from the Copa del Rey thanks to a resilient display by Athletic Bilbao, with Sergiño Dest playing most of the overtime period in the losing effort.
Athletic Bilbao 3 – 2 FC Barcelona
The result, which saw Barcelona come back from a deficit twice in regulation, eliminates them from contention for a trophy for the second time in just over a week, as they also lost out in their bid to lift the Supercopa de España last week.
Dest was left on the bench for the entirety of regulation, however was called into action shortly into the first overtime period when Ansu Fati went down with a hamstring injury.
Barcelona were already dealt a shocking blow by their hosts when Iker Muniain looped a beauty of a shot from the left side of the area just inside the far post after less than two minutes.
However, Ferran Torres equalized with his first goal for the Blaugrana in the 20th minute following a fluid 22-pass build-up sequence that ended with the new arrival connecting on a perfectly placed shot from the left of the area to the far corner.
Bilbao looked to have won it with four minutes left in regulation when chaos in the area following a free kick allowed Inigo Martinez the chance to poke the ball over the line after he had already fallen to the turf, but Pedri sent it into overtime in the third minute of injury time with a scrappy shot from near the penalty spot.
Dest entered the game in the 96th minute as an emergency replacement for Ansu Fati, who had come on at the hour only to be forced off again with a hamstring injury. The American had an opportunity to be hero in the 103rd minute when Pedri fed the ball to him in an open position at the edge of the area, but his shot was placed too centrally, giving keeper Julen Agirrezabala no problems to make the easy save.
On the ensuing attack the other way, Bilbao’s Nico Williams tried to lob a cross over the double-team of Jordi Alba and Dest, only for the ball to strike the arm of the Spanish defender, leading to a spot kick after a short VAR review.
Muniain easily converted the shot, sending Marc-André ter Stegen the wrong way for what was the eventual winner.
With yet another trophy now out of the picture, the Blaugrana return their focus towards trying to pick up their lagging La Liga campaign and qualifying for next season’s Champions League. They visit Alaves on Sunday in their final game before the international break.