Barcelona were booted out of the Copa del Rey on Thursday, as a late Inaki Williams goal sent Athletic Bilbao through to the semi-finals.
It was a game wherein the chances came few and far between, although Barcelona engineered the better of the openings. Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann all came close for the visitors, only to either be denied by the inspired Unai Simon or have their shots blocked.
On the other end, Inaki Williams was denied a first half goal due to offside, but he had his goal deep into injury time when he nodded in from Ibai Gomez’s cross. The only goal of the game sent holders Barcelona crashing out of the Copa del Rey on a night when Real Madrid were sent packing from the competition as well. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Quique Setien’s men.
1️⃣ Athletic Club (Iñaki Williams, 90’+3′)
0️⃣ Barça pic.twitter.com/5aLyQ1GSlA
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 6, 2020
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
A night wherein ter Stegen was not called into action a great deal, with Barcelona dominating. Had more work to do with his feet than with the gloves, although his usual assured demeanour took a back seat at times, as he played a few dangerous passes in the face of some fine pressing by Athletic Bilbao. Could not have done much for Inaki Williams’s goal.
Nelson Semedo: 7/10
Another solid display by Semedo, who continues to grow in stature whenever given an opportunity this season. The Portuguese full-back posed a threat when he looked to charge forward, while at the back, he was not troubled much. Created a fine chance for Ansu Fati in the first half and deserved an assist from it.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
With Barcelona in command for much of the game, Pique hardly broke a sweat, especially in the first half when the hosts were largely restricted to long-range efforts. Late in the second half, the veteran defender was turned by Williams, who he fouled before going off injured. A concerning issue for Setien at a time when he is already down to his bare bones.
Clement Lenglet: 6.5/10
The most assured of all the Barcelona defenders on the night. Lenglet was hardly perturbed by the opposition attackers, although he did not take charge with the ball at his feet. Nevertheless, this was a rather straightforward evening for the Frenchman, who was somewhat unlucky to end up on the losing side.
Jordi Alba: 5/10
Not the best of displays by Alba. Oddly pinned back in the first half, the Spaniard expressed himself better post the interval, but his end product was not always on point. Defensively, the Spaniard had his struggles, and was nowhere to be seen when Ibai Gomez crossed from his flank for the winner. A major off day.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
This was a peculiar evening for de Jong, who had to play in an unfamiliar advanced midfield role on Thursday. Was precise as always with the ball at his feet, but some of his movements showed his lack of experience in the position, although he should have been awarded a penalty for a blatant push.
Sergio Busquets: 5.5/10
A game of hits and misses for Busquets, who helped exert Barcelona’s control on the game, but could not set a quick tempo to the game. Off the ball, he helped absorb much of the pressure that Athletic Bilbao looked to create, but was well beaten by Williams for the winner.
Ivan Rakitic: 5/10
After some bright displays recently, Rakitic needed to continue performing at the required level to help Barcelona reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals. However, the Croat was off pace and did not quite manage to get himself into the game. Was rightly taken off for Arthur.
Sergi Roberto: 6/10
A surprise pick in attack, coming in for Antoine Griezmann. Roberto was a bright spot in the first half, linking up well with Lionel Messi. However, he faded after the break, although he did create a fine chance for Griezmann a little after the Frenchman was brought on. Could perhaps be an option for the three-pronged attack going forward.
Lionel Messi: 6/10
Deployed in a central role on Thursday, Messi was used as a False Nine. Given the license to roam and create the openings, the Barcelona captain provided the spark in the final third but also lost the ball a few too many times.
Missed a great chance late on to win the game for Barcelona. Quite the uncharacteristic scuffing by Messi, who would score from such a scenario on most occasions. In a week where he has been in the news for his tirade against Eric Abidal, this was another dampener.
Ansu Fati: 7/10
The brightest spot for Barcelona on the night, which begs the question as to why he was the first to be taken off. The teenager was unlucky to see his effort being blocked early into the game. Continued to pose a threat thereafter, showing superb energy in and around the box. Another fine showing after a slow start to life under Setien.
Antoine Griezmann: 5/10
On for Fati, Griezmann got into good positions but missed a glorious chance soon after being introduced. Denied by Unai Simon as well, it was not to be for the Frenchman on Thursday.
Arthur replaced Rakitic and was an immediate upgrade on the struggling Croat. Set Messi up with a peach of a pass, only to see the Barcelona captain failing to convert. A step in the right direction for the Brazilian as he continues his return trail.
Samuel Umtiti: N/A
A late introduction in place of the injured Pique. Umtiti, though, appeared nervy during his cameo.