Nine-Man Athletico Bilbao Beat Barcelona In Copa del Rey First-Leg

A nine-man Athletic Bilbao  got a first-leg advantage over Barcelona in their Copa del Rey last-16 with a 2-1 home win, putting the Catalans in a must-win situation in the second-leg if they must progress to the next round.

Bilbao scored two goals in the first 28-minutes through Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams putting the hosts in control against the defending champions before half-time.

Lionel Messi and his team mates attempted to get an equalizer and possibly a win, but the Argentine was only able to reduce the deficit from a free-kick after the break.

Messi also hit a post in stoppage time after both Raul Garcia and Ander Iturraspe had been shown red in the 74th and 80th minutes respectively.

The trio of Barca forwards Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar started the match despite only returning to training on Monday after the Chrsitmas break.

This is the sixth time Barca and Athletic are meeting in this competition in nine seasons, including three finals. Athletic are set to set a record by qualifying ahead of Barcelona, as no side other than Real Madrid has eliminated Barca from the cup since 2008.

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