FC Barcelona proceed to semi-finals, Atletico Madrid dumped by Celta Vigo

Madrid: Copa del Rey holders Barcelona had to weather a first-half storm from Athletic Bilbao before progressing to the semi-finals for the seventh consecutive season with a 3-1 win to seal a 5-2 aggregate victory. Atletico Madrid failed to make the last four, though, as they conceded three goals for the first time in a year to lose 3-2 on the night and on aggregate to Celta Vigo. Inaki Williams’s early strike for the visitors at the Camp Nou gave Athletic hope of exacting revenge for defeat in last season’s final to Barca.

However, the Basques failed to take a series of chances when on top before half-time and Barca responded in the second period thanks to goals from Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Neymar. “The early goal for them made life difficult for us,” Suarez told Canal Plus. “We know we didn’t play well in the first-half, but in the second-half we came out with a different attitude and that allowed us to save the day and progress to the semis.” Williams signed a new long-term deal with a 50 million euro buyout clause last week and showed more signs of his burgeoning talent with a cool finish from Aritz Aduriz’s fine through ball to register his 11th goal of the season.

Athletic should have then gone in front on aggregate when Javier Eraso turned Williams’s dangerous cross wide before Markel Susaeta also failed to hit the target from Aduriz’s knockdown. Those misses were to prove crucial as Barca upped their game after the break as the star front three of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar came alive. Messi created the equaliser when he latched onto Sergi Roberto’s ball over the top and his low cross was slotted home at the back post by Suarez for his 30th goal of the season. Pique killed the tie off nine minutes from time when he rose to power home Dani Alves’s cross from the right. And Neymar got his revenge for some rough treatment dished out by the Athletic defence when he skipped past Mikel San Jose before firing into the corner.