Inaki Williams

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More shocks as Athletic Bilbao knocks Barcelona out of Copa del Rey

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The giants are falling in the Copa del Rey.

Inaki Williams scored in stoppage time to lead Athletic Bilbao past Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, hours after Real Sociedad knocked Real Madrid out of the tournament.

Athletic Bilbao has won the second-most Copa del Rey titles in Spanish history, with 23 wins. Barca has the most with 30.

It’s the latest setback of a troubling season for Barcelona, who has already changed managers and seen plenty of inner turmoil.

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Williams turned an Ibai Gomez cross past Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the third minute of second-half stoppage time to clinch a place in the semifinals with Real Sociedad, Granada, and Cinderella story Mirandes of the Segunda Division.

The Copa del Rey will not include an El Clasico rival for the first time since 2010, when Sevilla beat Atletico Madrid.

Barca was awarded five yellow cards on the day including one to Lionel Messi, who was stopped 1v1 by Unai Simon moments before Williams won it.

Quique Setien’s Barca is three points back of Real Madrid in the race for La Liga, seven points clear of third-place Getafe. The season’s second El Clasico comes March 1 at the Bernabeu.

Espanyol identify 12 fans who racially insulted player

Racism in football
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BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish club Espanyol says it has identified 12 fans who racially insulted an Athletic Bilbao player in the Spanish league last weekend.

Espanyol said on Monday in a statement that nine of the fans were club members and would face punishment that could include suspension or a full-time ban.

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It said a report of its analysis of the video images of Saturday’s game at RCDE Stadium were sent to authorities.

The club reiterated its “categorical condemnation of any displays of violence and racism.”

The fans made monkey noises directed at Athletic forward Inaki Williams, who is black. Television images showed Williams confronting the section of Espanyol fans who taunted him after he was substituted late in the game in Barcelona.

The Spanish league said it will seek a partial stadium closure for Espanyol and will raise the incident with the Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee, which handles disciplinary issues.

Bilbao’s Williams: ‘I suffered racist insults’ at Espanyol

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BARCELONA, Spain — Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams says that he was a victim of racial abuse from fans while playing at Espanyol in a Spanish league game on Saturday.

Williams said after the 1-1 draw that “I suffered racist insults, something that no one wants to hear and has no place here.”

Williams, who is black, played 82 minutes of the match before being substituted.

“People should come to enjoy themselves, to help their team. This is a sport about friendship,” Williams said.

Reports: Man Utd to buy $99M Williams as Lukaku leaves

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Antonio Conte is getting his man, and that man is going to cost him a lot of money.

Now how will Manchester United react?

Romelu Lukaku will go to Inter Milan for around $94 million, according to Sky Sports, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Marcus Rashford and not much else at center forward.

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While Lukaku struggled last season, at least according to his usual playmaking standards, his 12 goals are still more than Rashford has recorded in a PL season.

Rashford recorded 10 goals and 7 assists in just over 2,300 minutes last season, while Lukaku had 12 and 1 in a bit more than 2,100.

A Sunday Express report says that Ed Woodward will respond by pulling the trigger on a near $99 million deal for Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams, who is Lukaku’s junior by 13 months.

Williams, 25, scored 13 times with four assists in La Liga play last season, including three against Atletico Madrid and two against Sevilla (though he was pretty streaky).

He’s also played just under half of his career matches at right wing, and he’s been plenty productive in the assist department when away from center forward.

Spain: referee stops match because of racist chants

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MADRID (AP) A referee briefly stopped Sunday’s Spanish league match between Sporting Gijon and visiting Athletic Bilbao because of racist chants aimed at Bilbao player Inaki Williams.

Referee Clos Gomez wrote in his match report that he suspended play for a minute in the first half when he heard racist chants imitating what he said were “monkey calls” from one section of El Molinon Stadium directed at Williams.

Gomez says that a warning was then given by the public announcer and that the abusive insults stopped.