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Copa del Rey: nine man Athletic Bilbao beats Barcelona 2:1
Athletic Bilbao held on with nine-men to surprise Barcelona 2-1 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie on Thursday.

Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams had given the hosts a two-goal lead in the first half before Lionel Messi drew a goal back from a free kick just after the break.

But Athletic successfully defended their lead despite having Raul Garcia and Ander Iturraspe both dismissed after each picked up two yellow cards in the second half.

Aduriz opened the scoring on 25 minutes by heading home Raul Garcia’s cross on the counter-attack.

And it was 2-0 less than four minutes later when Aduriz played in Williams, who unleashed a rocket inside the near post from 14 yards that left Marc-Andre ter Stegen flat-footed.

There was a flashpoint before half-time when Aduriz appeared to lash out and catch Samuel Umtiti in the throat, and though the Barcelona player needed lengthy treatment, both players ended up with a yellow card for confronting each other after the incident.

Barcelona’s first goal came seven minutes into the second half on Messi’s remarkable free kick from about 25 yards out. Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz pushed it onto the crossbar and thought he had smothered the ball on the line, but the referee ruled that it had indeed crossed.

Garcia became the first Athletic player sent off in the 74th minute after he caught Neymar’s heel late.

Barcelona then had a good chance to equalise when Messi walked the ball through defenders in the box, and only a last-ditch sliding tackle prevented him from scoring.

Iturraspe was given his marching orders with 10 minutes to play — Neymar again drawing the foul after minimal contact.

Pressing for an equaliser with a two-man advantage, Barcelona had a corner deep into stoppage time and it fell to Messi, who uncharacteristically struck the inside of the post with the final play of the game.

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Football News

Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

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Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights - Antonio Conte

Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has revealed that the thought of playing against Barcelona and Lionel Messi gives him sleepless nights.

The Italian’s men will host the Catalan giants in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. According to him;

“In these days after the game in the FA Cup, I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep well,” he said.

“When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too.

“They can move a result a lot of the time. We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it’s very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game.”

Barcelona vs Chelsea meetings is best remembered by their semi-final meeting in this competition in 2012 when they surrendered a two-goal lead to crash out at the Nou Camp as Roberto Di Matteo’s side went on to lift the Champions League for the first time.

Lionel Messi will be hoping to score his first goal against Chelsea, having drawn a blank in his previous eight outings in this fixture.

Anthonio Conte however knows it will be difficult to keep Messi quiet. According to him,

“We are talking about the best player in the world,” he said when asked about a plan to cope with the Argentina ace.

“Messi has the capacity to solve the situation and create a chance when you are not seeing the chance to score.

“We are talking about a fantastic player. We have to pay great attention, but not only to Messi.

“We have to know that, during the game, we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must have the idea to go and score at any moment.”

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

League 1 side Wigan Athletic stunned a 10-man Manchester City’s hopes of a quadruple with a shock 1-0 win in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday.

Will Grigg scored the winner for the underdogs in the 79th minute when he finished brilliantly from the edge of the box.

Manchester City dominated the match, having 29 shots and 83 per cent of the possession, despite Fabian Delph’s Red Card at the end of the first half for a high tackle on Max Power.

The defeat is City’s third of the season who had created enough good chances to win the game, especially in the first half, despite Wigan looking dangerous on the break.

 

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Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

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Romelu Lukaku to appear in Los Angeles court today over July arrest

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

Manchester United has booked their place  in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday night.

It was more of a “Monkey working while the baboon eats” and a night of VAR controversy after Juan Mata’s goal was ruled out .

Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net  just three minutes after kick off and the second just after the break (55) – but it was Mata’s disallowed effort for which the game will be remembered for.

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

With VAR in use, Mata thought he had made it 2-0 just before half-time when breaking in behind and finishing past Jonas Lossl. However, after a big delay and confusion with the VAR pictures, Kevin Friend ruled out the goal as Mata’s knee was marginally offside despite the lines used by VAR not looking straight.

Huddersfield enjoyed plenty of possession and registered 19 shots on goal but United’s defence – marshalled by the excellent Chris Smalling – kept their eighth clean sheet from their last 10 matches.

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