Athletic Bilbao stun Barcelona in Copa del Rey quarter-finals

Athletic Bilbao stun Barcelona in Copa del Rey quarter-finals

In a thrilling Copa del Rey quarter-final clash at the San Mames, Athletic Bilbao secured a memorable 4-2 victory over Barcelona.

The early minutes set the tone for an enthralling match, as Gorka Guruzeta stunned Barcelona by netting within 36 seconds. Despite Barcelona's quick response with goals from Robert Lewandowski and Lamine Yamal, Athletic Bilbao persisted, with Oihan Sanchet's equalizer, courtesy of a brilliant cross from Nico Williams, levelling the playing field.

Inaki Williams, a second-half substitute, showcased his prowess by breaking the deadlock at the close of the initial extra period for his side to lead 3-2. His sublime finish mirrored his resilience, converting a shot that rebounded off the post, reminiscent of the misfortune Barcelona had faced in previous Copa del Rey encounters in 2020 and 2022.

As the match extended into extra time, the younger Williams brother, Nico, etched his name into the night's narrative with a clinical finish - the last kick of the game - securing Athletic Bilbao's 4-2 triumph and adding another chapter to Barcelona's Copa del Rey woes.

Former Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde guided his team masterfully through the 120-minute encounter, exposing Barcelona's vulnerabilities and sealing their fate in the competition.

Meanwhile, in another quarter-final showdown, La Liga leaders Girona suffered a dramatic 3-2 defeat against 10-man Real Mallorca.

Cyle Larin and Abdon Prats, with a stunning strike and a penalty, powered the hosts to a commanding three-goal lead in the first half. Girona, despite a valiant effort, managed to pull two goals back through Cristhian Stuani's penalty and a late Savio finish.

However, a last-minute equalizer eluded them, and they were left licking their wounds in the face of Real Mallorca's resilience.

In a night filled with extraordinary performances and unexpected twists, the Williams brothers' heroics took centre stage of Copa del Rey drama.

READ MORE: Bayern Munich edge past Union Berlin in Bundesliga showdown