COPA DEL REY

Barcelona player ratings in Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao

Iñaki Williams' last-gasp header sent Barcelona tumbling out of the Copa del Rey and booked Athletic's place in Friday's semi-final draw.

Barcelona player ratings in Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao
ANDER GILLENEA AFP

Marc-André ter Stegen:

Ter Stegen's nigh-on obsessive insistence on playing out short balls into the base of the midfield caused more than one dicey moment for Barcelona, while two other unforced errors almost cost his side, too. He couldn't do much about Iñaki Williams' goal, but the fact remains that this was not one of his finest performances in a Barça shirt. He certainly didn't inspire confidence with ball at feet.

Nélson Semedo:

The Portuguese didn't bomb on as much as he has done on other occasions when operating as a wing-back, instead concentrating more on his defensive duties. A focused, if quiet display.

Gerard Piqué:

Having arrived at San Mamés not in the best of shapes after battling to overcome a fever, it was clear to see that a far-from-100% Gerard Piqué was playing within himself. Worse was to come, though: the defender was forced off 10 minutes from the end after suffering an injury to his right groin.

Clément Lenglet:

His first-half performance was a disaster: unsure of himself when bringing the ball out and prone to losing it in dangerous situations, he wasn't strong enough in the tackle and, in general, looked all at sea. However, he improved after the break.

Jordi Alba:

He seems like a coiled spring, and managed to talk himself into the book for dissent. He was active and incisive on the wing, particularly when combining with Ansu Fati and Frenkie de Jong. Unusually, he scarcely managed to link up with Lionel Messi, despite seeking him out time and again.

Sergio Busquets:

Busquets has performed consistently well since Quique Setién's arrival. After a hit-and-miss first half, chiefly caused by Athletic's intense off-the-ball pressing, he took charge of the midfield, moving the ball fluidly and always offering solutions to his team-mates. However, he had a role to play in the hosts' winner, losing out in his aerial challenge with goalscorer Iñaki Williams.

Frenkie de Jong:

The Dutchman remains off form, but there were some signs after the break of what he can do, albeit they were only intermittent. He was much more incisive when looking towards goal, and the team benefited from this. He was brought down in the box for what should have been a penalty, but the referee waved away Barça's appeals and VAR looked the other way.

Ivan Rakitic:

The Croat followed orders, getting through plenty of dirty work, but remains sloppy in the extreme with ball at feet. He was substituted for Arthur Melo.

Sergi Roberto:

Roberto's best game of the season. Starting almost as a right winger, he brought direct, powerful attacking play in Athletic's final third. Supplied a fine pass to create a glorious chance for Antoine Griezmann, who was only denied by a fantastic Unai Simón save.

Lionel Messi:

Messi worked as hard as he ever has, dropping into the midfield to pick up the ball and always keeping his focus on troubling Simón in the Athletic goal. He linked up with Fati at every opportunity and, in the 88th minute, would have won the tie for Barça but for a second crucial stop by Simón. You can't really ask much more of the Argentine.

Ansu Fati:

Fati put in a good performance, making a particular attacking impact in an opening period in which he twice got in shots on goal. He's clearly enjoying playing with Messi. The youngster was the first Barça player to be withdrawn, with Griezmann taking his place.

Substitutes:

Antoine Griezmann (on for Fati in the 57th minute):

Griezmann must still be asking himself how he did not put Barcelona ahead from Roberto's pass. The Frenchman showed a good level of intensity and commitment in his defensive duties, and worked unselfishly in attack.

Arthur Melo (on for Rakitic in the 69th minute):

His lovely through ball provided Messi with the opportunity which, rather surprisingly, the Argentine failed to take.

Samuel Umtiti (on for Piqué in the 80th minute):

Came on for the injured Piqué in the game's closing stages, and got through his time on the pitch. Where he's concerned, that's the most important thing these days.