The end of the Xavi era may be near. Barcelona lost another important game under his management, battling Athletic Club for 120 minutes but losing 4-2 in extra time. The Blaugrana took the lead inside 20 minutes, but their lead never looked secure, and Iaki Williams’ winner in extra time, followed by a brace from Nico Williams, was more than deserved.
Barça had a miserable start. Gorka Guruzeta gave the home team the lead within 60 seconds with a volley after a fierce battle inside the Barça area.
They responded, much against the run of play, in the 25th minute, when Robert Lewandowski deflected a loose ball into the net. Lamine Yamal gave his opinion and was excellent throughout. His goal came soon after, when the teenager cut to his left foot and shot into the bottom corner from outside the area.
The hosts equalized after the break. Oihan Sancet took the lead after a well-executed game. Yamal looked certain to win with five minutes left, but his shot went over the crossbar after beating the goalkeeper.
In the end, more time was needed to sort things out, and the Athletic Club found a further surge of energy in the extra minutes. Inaki Williams grabbed the goal and followed up his own effort with a tap-in from a tight angle. Nico Williams added a fourth as the Blaugrana edged ahead.