January 11, 2017 / 10:41 PM / 7 months ago

Free kick specialist Messi fires Barca into cup last eight

Football Soccer - Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Spanish King's Cup - Nou Camp stadium, Barcelona, Spain - 11/01/17 Barcelona's Luis Suarez (C) celebrates after scoring his first goal with team mates Lionel Messi (L) and Rafinha.Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as holders Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 on Wednesday to overturn a deficit from the first leg and advance to the quarter-finals of the King's Cup.

A Luis Suarez volley put Barca ahead in the 35th minute while Brazil international Neymar earned and converted a penalty three minutes into the second half to score his first goal since October and put Barca in front in the tie after losing the first leg 2-1.

Athletic responded immediately though, substitute defender Gorka Elustondo crossing for Barcelona-born Enric Saborit to head home in the 51st minute. The goal emboldened the visitors for a 10-minute spell but Barca withstood the pressure.

Messi had squandered two free kicks in the first half but avoided the possibility of extra time and penalties by curling a dead ball in off the post in the 79th, his second converted set piece in four days.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Rex Gowar

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