- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - While last season’s finalist Athletic Bilbao started its Copa del Rey campaign with a win, three other topflight clubs lost at second-division opponents in the opening leg of the round of 32 on Thursday.

Bilbao earned a 2-0 win at third-division club Linense from first-half goals by little-used striker Kike Sola and defender Aymeric Laporte.

Outplayed until after halftime, the hosts mustered four good scoring chances in the second half, but goalkeeper Iago Herrerin saved its best opportunity when Ismael Flores fired a shot from close range with four minutes to play.

Bilbao, second all time with 23 cups, lost in last season’s final when Barcelona won its record 27th cup.

Villarreal, Malaga and Eibar will all have to fight back with wins in two weeks to avoid early exits.

Eibar will have to toughest time overcoming a 3-0 loss at Ponferradina, while Malaga’s struggles in the league carried over to the cup with a 2-1 loss at Mirandes.

Villarreal, a semifinalist last season, lost 3-2 at second-division side Huesca, which got a 75th-minute winner by Darwin Machis.

Espanyol took away a valuable goal in a 1-1 draw at Levante, and Las Palmas edged Real Sociedad 2-1 at home in clashes between first-division clubs.

On Wednesday, Barcelona advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-1 rout of third-tier Villanovense after its tie was moved ahead in the calendar to make room for Barcelona’s participation in the Club World Cup.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, faces possible disqualification from the tournament after fielding an ineligible player in a 3-1 win at Cadiz. The Spanish federation will rule on Cadiz’s objection on Friday.

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