On Friday the La Liga side Athletic Bilbao held out with nine men to secure a first win over the Spanish giant FC Barcelona in four years and carry a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie on January 11.
Two goals before the half time from Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams respectively put the home side in command.
But in the second half, the Argentine ace FC Barcelona’s star forward Lionel Messi’s fine free-kick gave Barcelona something to get back on track.
And the 29-year-old five-time World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi tried his best along with his teammates to equalize the score, but was inches away from a precious second away goal when he hit the post with the final kick of the game after Raul Garcia and Ander Iturraspe had been sent-off.
After the 2-1 defeat, the Spaniard Luis Enrique, who is currently managing the La Liga champions admitted, “We struggled at the start,”
“They used two counter-attacks to put together two good moves and get ahead.”
“In the second-half we concentrated more on what we could control, our play, and I think we did enough to deserve more, even taking into account Athletic’s numerical disadvantage.”