La Liga: Lionel Messi nets 2 in Barca win at Bilbao; Atletico upset in Copa


Lionel Messi scored two targets to steer Barcelona to a 3-2 win at Athletic Bilbao within the Spanish league, whereas Atlético Madrid was ousted from the Copa del Rey by a third-tier aspect on Wednesday.

Teenager Pedro “Pedri” González canceled out Iñaki William’s opener for Bilbao earlier than Messi added two targets to safe an away win for Barcelona that lifted it into third place.

Atlético leads the league however misplaced 1-0 at third-tier Cornellà within the Copa del Rey’s spherical of 32 — a consequence which means Diego Simeone’s aspect can focus much more on the La Liga title race.

ATLÉTICO HUMBLED

It’s the second 12 months in a row that Atlético misplaced to a third-tier workforce within the cup competitors, after a 2-1 defeat to Cultural Leonesa.

“Our rivals have played better,” Atlético coach Diego Simeone stated. “We had some good attacking moves, but overall our rival (Cornellà) always played better. They took advantage of the set piece and got their goal. It was even more uphill after the sending off. Now we have to find solutions.”

Atlético is just not alone in getting caught off-guard. Third-tier sides additionally ousted topflight groups Celta Vigo and Getafe on Tuesday.

But Atlético has been the largest sufferer of the change in format of the Copa del Rey two seasons in the past. Before final season, every spherical was performed over two legs, giving larger golf equipment possibilities to return again at residence in the event that they slipped up away. Now, all rounds aside from the semifinals are performed in a single leg on the lower-seeded aspect.

Barcelona vs Bilbao Highlights:

Still, a workforce like Atlético had no enterprise shedding at Cornellà, a membership primarily based in a working-class neighbors on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Atlético is the front-runner to win the league title. It has solely misplaced as soon as in 15 rounds within the Spanish league and is about to face Chelsea within the Champions League’s spherical of 16 in February.

Cornellà, in the meantime, has had a ho-hum season in its group within the third tier, with three wins, two attracts and 4 losses leaving it in seventh place.

Even earlier than the guests misplaced defender Ricardo Sánchez to a second reserving within the sixty fifth minute, they’d not confirmed to be superior.

Cornellà defender Adrian Jiménez scored the sport’s solely purpose within the eighth minute from a cross by Agus Medina to the close to put up.

Atlético was by no means snug on Cornellà’s synthetic turf. The closest it got here to equalizing was Saúl Ñíguez’s shot off the woodwork halfway via the primary half.

Atlético misplaced middle again José Giménez after he injured his left ankle early on. João Félix additionally left the match within the second half after he harm an ankle.

Cornellà coach Guillermo Fernández instructed Simeone he “was sorry” for the consequence.

“I said what I felt,” Fernández stated after the match. “For these clubs, which are under so much pressure, these matches are very uncomfortable. For us today is a special day. I said before the match we would need to play an exceptional match, and that is what we did — and we had that bit of luck we needed.”

PEDRI & MESSI

Williams gave Marcelino García Toral an ideal begin to his debut match as Bilbao’s new coach within the third minute. The ahead broke free down the left flank, reduce inside Clement Lenglet, and drilled a low shot beneath goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen.

But as soon as Messi and Pedri began to click on, Barcelona dominated the sport aside from a lone purpose by Iker Munian within the ninetieth minute after a poor move by Messi.

Pedri equalized within the 14th when he headed in a ball knocked again by Frenkie de Jong after Messi had met his future into the realm with a exact lob from distance.

The 18-year-old Pedri then turned playmaker when he used a no-look move by rolling the ball backwards to arrange Messi within the thirty eighth.

Messi made it 3-1 within the 62nd by firing a move from Antoine Griezmann off the underside of the bar and into the web.

Messi, who additionally hit the woodwork twice, tarnished his in any other case sensible sport when his poor move was picked off by Bilbao close to the realm, permitting Muniain to attain.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman praised his workforce and credited the robust play of Pedri and De Jong in midfield.

“It is always important to have good players, above all in the midfield; that is where you can dictate the game,” Koeman stated. “With players like Frenkie, (Sergio) Busquets, Pedri and Leo (Messi) we always had an extra man and they dictated the game. Pedri is one of those players. I am not surprised that is playing at a great level compared to the rest.”





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