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Suarez brings up ton as Barca beat Athletic in cup


Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez’s strike was the 300th scored by Barcelona’s fearsome “MSN” forward line

Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored his 100th goal in his 120th game for Barcelona as the Spanish giants reached the Copa del Rey quarter-finals with victory over Athletic Bilbao.

Suarez volleyed home from Neymar’s cross at the Nou Camp to put Barcelona 1-0 up on the night and ahead in the tie on away goals with the scores level at 2-2.

The Uruguayan is the third-fastest player to reach a century of goals for Barcelona, with only Mariano Martin (99 games) and Hungarian striker Laszlo Kubala (103) having taken fewer appearances to reach the landmark.

It took Lionel Messi 188 games to reach 100 goals for Barca.

Neymar put Barcelona 3-2 ahead on aggregate after the break when he coolly drilled in a low penalty after he was fouled.

But moments later Athletic striker Saborit’s towering header levelled the tie on away goals.

A nervousness engulfed the Nou Camp with the tie heading towards extra-time – until Messi curled in a shot off the post from 20 yards.

The Argentina forward’s strike – his third free-kick in three games in 2017 – put the Catalans into the quarter-finals for the seventh successive season.

Barcelona have not lost a La Liga game since the start of October but after a series of disappointing draws are five points behind arch rivals Real Madrid in the race for the Spanish title.

That means the Copa del Rey may prove to be their best hope of domestic silverware this season.

Boss Luis Enrique knows what it takes to win this competition having led the Catalans to success in each of the past two seasons – taking them to a third triumph in a row would be a feat not achieved since 1953.

Defeat means Athletic, who are seventh in La Liga, have lost to Barca in the Copa del Rey for the past three seasons.

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Everton boss and former Barcelona player Ronald Koeman congratulated Lionel Messi on equalling his record of scoring 26 goals from free-kicks for the club

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38548850