Athletic Bilbao Eliminates Barcelona from Copa del Rey with a 4-2 Quarter-Final Victory at San Mamés.

Inaki Williams, returning from the Africa Cup of Nations on the same morning, sparks Athletic Bilbao’s extra-time triumph over Barcelona

Athletic Bilbao’s Gorka Guruzeta secured an early lead in the first minute, but Barcelona swiftly responded, with Robert Lewandowski equalizing and Lamine Yamal putting them ahead 2-1 before the break.

Oihan Sancet later leveled the score, setting the stage for Inaki Williams and his brother Nico to secure victory.

Inaki Williams, freshly back from Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign, arrived in Bilbao on the match day after a journey from Ivory Coast to Paris. Despite his late arrival, he made a significant impact, coming off the bench in the second half and breaking the deadlock in extra time.

Nico, Inaki’s younger brother who represents Spain internationally, sealed the win with a late goal, securing Athletic Bilbao’s spot in the semi-finals.

While Barcelona, led by Xavi, dominated possession, Athletic Bilbao’s 27 shots on goal highlighted their potency in attack. Despite the competition’s youngest scorer, 16-year-old Yamal, having a chance to secure Barcelona’s semi-final berth in the final minutes, he missed an open goal after rounding keeper Julen Agirrezabala.

The defeat marks the exit of both Barcelona and Real Madrid, traditional powerhouses with a combined 10 victories in the last 15 Copa del Rey tournaments, from the competition.

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