VIDEO: Barcelona 3 – 1 Athletic Bilbao [Copa Del Rey] Highlights 2016/17

12th January 2017

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Lionel Messi was Barcelona’s free-kick hero once more as the holders sunk Athletic Bilbao 3-1 to claim a rousing 4-3 aggregate triumph in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

Trailing following a contentious 2-1 defeat in Bilbao last week, Barca had to wait for their breakthrough before it arrived in landmark fashion 10 minutes from half-time.

Luis Suarez volleyed his 100th goal for the club on the end of a move that fittingly featured Messi and Neymar – it was the 300th goal for MSN since the awesome forward trio began playing together in 2014.

Neymar won and converted a penalty early in the second period, but Athletic hit back through wideman Enric Saborit, a Barcelona-born product of the Espanyol youth system.

But Barcelona, looking for a win at their third attempt in 2017, were not discouraged and a familiar hero stepped forward.

Having arrowed a set-piece into the top left corner to snatch a 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Sunday, Messi deftly whipped an effort from similar range across the Bilbao wall and in off the right-hand post to stylishly book a quarter-final spot.

The first leg at San Mames prompted Gerard Pique’s week-long critique of Spanish officials and controversy arrived again after 26 keenly fought minutes, when Barcelona briefly though they were level on aggregate.

Neymar squared for Suarez to slot in a routine finish, but the Brazil captain had been incorrectly flagged offside when Andres Iniesta threaded a wonderful throughball

Athletic were forced into a change before the half-hour mark, with defender Xabier Etxeita coming off worse after hacking down Neymar.

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Presented with a free-kick opportunity in a similar position to his last-gasp equaliser versus Villarreal on Sunday, Messi curled an attempt over, with Neymar having come in for more robust attention.

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