Barcelona will take slender advantage into the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie against Athletic Bilbao following a 2-1 win away at San Mames.
• Munir gives Barca the lead
• Neymar doubles the score
• Aduriz gives Athletic a lifeline
Defending champions Barcelona will feel they have one foot in the semi-finals after a 2-1 away win against last year’s runners-up Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Munir El Haddadi followed up his brace in the last-16 match against Espanyol last time out with another goal while Neymar made it 2-0 after a goalkeeper mistake.
Experienced striker Aritz Aduriz scored in the dying minutes of the game to give Athletic some hope ahead of the second leg.
Barcelona were without Lionel Messi (injured) and Luis Suarez (suspended) for the first leg of their quarter-final against Athletic, but they were still far too good the Basque outfit.
The hosts put the defending champions under early pressure at San Mames, but they didn’t really create too many clear-cut opportunities and Barcelona’s defenders did well as a unit.
And they were made to pay for it after 18 minutes when the visitors broke down the right and Ivan Rakitic sent a lovely cross into the box with Munir El Haddadi converting from six yards out.
Bilbao midfielder Javier Eraso had a brief glimpse at goal a few minutes later, but he stumbled at the wrong moment.
The second Barca goal was a bit of a gift after goalkeeper Iago Herrerin came out to collect the ball at the edge of the area, but failed to gather and it gave Neymar a simple opportunity to roll the ball into an empty net.
The second half was much the same to the first half with Athletic doing all the running, but Barca had the better chances again, which they failed to convert.
Bilbao stepped things up late on and defender Mikel San Jose had header palmed away by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen while there were appeals for a late penalty when striker Inaki Williams tumbled in the area after Javier Mascherano mistimed a tackle, but the referee simply pointed for a goal kick.
The late pressure told as the Barcelona defence made a hash of a clearance in the final minute and the ball fell to San Jose, whose sliced shot went to Aduriz. The striker made no mistake from 12 yards out to give Athletic a slim chance ahead of the second match.