Two Spanish giants, Barcelona, and Real Madrid have been bundled out of the Copa del Rey on Thursday night by Atletico Bilbao and Real Sociedad. This means neither of the giants will play in the final for the first time since 2010.
Spanish forward Inaki Williams scored a last-minute header as Bilbao knocked Barcelona out of the Spanish Cup with a 1-0 win at San Mames Stadium.
The defeat is coming at a time in which Lionel Messi publicly called out the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal for criticising some Baca players over their work ethics and commitment to the club. Barcelona exit from the Cup also happened few hours Real Sociedad knocked Real Madrid from the competition.
Having won the competition in four of the past five years, the result piles up more misery for the club and pressure on new manager Quique Setien. The result means that Barcelona have now lost two in six games across all competitions since Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in January.
Teenager Ansu Fati went close for Barca but was denied by Bilbao shot-stopper Unai Nunez, who also save Messi’s goal-bound effort later in the half. Moments later, Williams had a goal correctly ruled out for offside as he turned in from close range at the back post.
Messi was again guilty of wasting chances as he curls a free-kick straight into the wall in stoppage time. He, however, made up for his wasted chances as his wonderful pass looked to have given Frenkie de Jong the chance to open the scoring shortly before the hour mark, but he tried to round the ‘keeper and was booked diving as he hit the deck in anticipation of contact.
Griezmann was sent on in place of Fati and soon had probably the best chance of the game, denied by the legs of Unai Simon after Roberto’s clever pull back.
Simon then made an even better stop to keep Messi out, while Williams missed Athletic’s only real opening of the second period, scuffing wide on the volley in the last minute of normal time.
But just as extra time seemed a certainty, Williams made amends, flicking a header into the far corner to send Athletic into the semi-finals.
Sociedad Bundle Real Madrid Out Of Copa del Rey
Martin Odegaard was in superb form against his parent club as Real Sociedad knocked Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey on Thursday with a thrilling 4-3 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The visitors wasted no time to test Madrid defence as Adnan Januzaj’s angled shot was blocked in the early minutes of the game. Odegaard, who is on a two-year loan, at Sociedad opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when he rebounds Alexander Isak’s shot parried by Madrid keeper Alphonse Areola. The Norwegian, however, did not celebrate the goal to show respect for his parent club.
Madrid pressed on for an equaliser as Sociedad keeper Alex Remiro saved James Rodriguez 20-yard effort before Federico Valverde’s rising drive was saved and Vinicius’ cut-back was blocked. Also, Captain Sergio Ramos then saw his header come back off the crossbar.
Isak doubled the lead for Sociedad in the 54th minute when he volleyed the ball past Areola from Ander Barrenetxea cross. Minutes later, the visitors were leading 3-0 when Isak scored his second goal of the night from a deflected ball into the penalty area.
Marcelo and Rodrygo scored for Madrid, in between Mikel Merino adding Sociedad’s fourth, with Nacho heading in late on. The defender’s 93rd-minute goal set up a tense finish at the Bernabeu as the referee played eight additional minutes. Although Sociedad’s Andoni Gorosabel was sent off for a second yellow card, Madrid were unable to find the equaliser.
Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior had a header ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside in the second half. Odegaard, who joined Real Madrid as a 15-year-old, was rewarded with a standing ovation from the home fans as he was substituted in the 64th minute.
Zinedine Zidane’s side are top of La Liga and have the best defensive record in the top flight with just 13 goals conceded from 22 games. They were unbeaten in 21 games coming into the tie.
Olugbenga Ige is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan. Gbenga is an experienced reporter, a new media enthusiast, and a fine-grained media influencer.