Lionel Messi scored two objectives to steer Barcelona to a 3-2 win at Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league, whereas Atlético Madrid was ousted from the Copa del Rey by a third-tier facet on Wednesday.
Teenager Pedro “Pedri” González canceled out Iñaki William’s opener for Bilbao earlier than Messi added two objectives 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 in the Copa del Rey’s spherical of 32 — a consequence which means Diego Simeone’s facet can focus much more on the La Liga title race.
It’s the second 12 months in a row that Atlético misplaced to a third-tier staff in 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 most important 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 house in the event that they slipped up away. Now, all rounds apart from the semifinals are performed in one leg on the lower-seeded facet.
Still, a staff 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 in the Spanish league and is about to face Chelsea in the Champions League’s spherical of 16 in February.
Cornellà, in the meantime, has had a ho-hum season in its group in 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 in the sixty fifth minute, that they had not confirmed to be superior.
Cornellà defender Adrian Jiménez scored the sport’s solely objective in 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 by the primary half.
Atlético misplaced heart again José Giménez after he injured his left ankle early on. João Félix additionally left the match in the second half after he harm an ankle.
Cornellà coach Guillermo Fernández informed 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 in the third minute. The ahead broke free down the left flank, in the reduction of 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 apart from a lone objective by Iker Munian in the ninetieth minute after a poor move by Messi.
Pedri equalized in the 14th when he headed in a ball knocked again by Frenkie de Jong after Messi had met his long term 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 in the thirty eighth.
Messi made it 3-1 in the 62nd by firing a move from Antoine Griezmann off the underside of the bar and into the online.
Messi, who additionally hit the woodwork twice, tarnished his in any other case sensible recreation when his poor move was picked off by Bilbao close to the realm, permitting Muniain to attain.
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman praised his staff 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.”