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Luis Suárez was surrounded by Athletic Club players all night. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Striker Aritz Aduriz scored three times in the second half to lead Athletic Club Bilbao to a shocking 4–0 victory over FC Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish Cup at the New Sam Mamés on a misty Friday night in Bilbao. The frustrating defeat leaves the Catalans with but one choice — go all out in Monday night's return leg, scheduled for 10.00pm CET at Camp Nou.

Aduriz headed home a Sabin Merino cross in the 53rd minute to make it 2–0, struck again in the 62nd minute for the Basques’ third of the evening, and then converted a penalty kick in the 67th to cap off the scoring.

Midfielder Mikel San Jose got things started after 14 minutes when he launched a shot from near midfield that caught FC Barcelona Marc-André ter Stegen well out of the net. Ter Stegen had just made a clearance — with his head — and had yet to retake his position when San Jose pulled the trigger just barely on Barça’s half of the pitch.

Always tough at San Mamés

FC Barcelona, playing just three days removed from a gruelling 5–4 overtime win in Tbilisi and without Neymar, still sidelined with the mumps, struggled to create danger in the Athletic Club area. The Basques proved once again how tough they are on their home turf, bringing non-stop pressure on all corners of the pitch, aggressively challenging every pass and touch, and continually pestering the Catalans like a swarm of gnats.

"I’ve never had an easy game against Athletic, not even when I was a player," Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique admitted after the game.

Lionel Messi had perhaps Barça’s best chance of the day in the final minute of the first half, but his superb free kick was batted away by Athletic Goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz as it sailed towards the upper left corner.

Momentum cut short

Before Aduriz heated up, it looked like Barça — still down just a goal — were poised to break through.

Five minutes after the break forward Pedro Rodríguez, who was in the starting eleven on Friday following his heroic game-winner in the 115th minute of Tuesday’s match, had the equaliser in his sights but rattled the crossbar.

A minute later, Messi one-timed a low cross from Suárez, but Iraizoz came up big once again and slapped it away just in time.

With Barça threatening, Luis Enrique brought on Andrés Iniesta for Rafinha in the 52nd minute to try and make a definitive push. That's when Aduriz broke free in front of ter Stegen and rose up to meet Merino’s cross, doubling the Basque lead.

90 minutes left

Despite the large deficit, the tie is far from over. The two teams are set to face off again in just three days, and it would be foolish to think the Catalans have given up hope. At least, that’s what Luis Enrique thinks.

“If anyone can come back in this tie, it’s Barça," he said.

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