A fast start from both sides was to be expected, as it had been in the league game between the sides just 11 days ago. Athletic were keen to set the pace with Barça content to soak up the early pressure in the first five minutes.
A very congested midfield meant that chances were at a premium, and by the 15-minute mark, there hadn’t been any goalscoring incidents of note. As the first half began to take shape, Barça started to play the better football, however, it was Capa’s shot on 25 that had Marc-André ter Stegen airborne to keep the score goalless.
The Basques appeared happy by this point to allow Barça to have the lion’s share of possession, looking to exploit any spaces in behind. Ronald Araujo was rock solid at the back for the blaugranes, ensuring Iñaki Willams in particular was kept at arms length.
Leo Messi let fly 10 minutes before the break with what was Barça’s best chance of the half, before being involved in a superb move towards the end of the half which ended with Antoine Griezmann firing home the opener. The joy was short-lived as within a minute, Oscar de Marcos stole in at the far post to equalise.
Although the same pattern continued after the break, spaces were clearly beginning to open up. Messi’s direct free-kick was a whisker away from giving Barça the lead. At the other end, Raúl García rose to head home a dead ball from Muniain, but the goal was ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside.
With 20 to play the scores remained level, Barça continuing to force the issue as Athletic looked to spring the offside trap. It proved to be their undoing as the blaugranes once again peppered the defence with short, sharp passing and an exquisite cross from Jordi Alba found Griezmann for his second of the game.
The goal spurred Athletic into becoming much more of an attacking force in what quickly became a frantic last five minutes. With 40 seconds of normal time left to play Barça were undone by another set play, Asier Villalibre on target to send the game into extra-time.
The extra 30 minutes had barely begun before Iñaki Williams sent a shot high into the net and out of ter Stegen’s outstretched arm and despairing dive. Frenkie de Jong then came off worst in a nasty clash of heads in the first period and it was a relief to see him able to continue.
Try as they might in the second period of extra-time, Barça couldn’t get back on level terms. A red card for Messi, given for for violent conduct, was almost the final act of a disappointing evening for the Catalans.