Football

Barca’s Messi sees red as Bilbao claim Super Cup glory

Barcelona's Lionel Messi after being sent off during the FC Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao match in Spanish Super Cup Final at Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla, Seville, Spain on January 17, 2021   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Lionel Messi was sent off for the first time in his Barcelona career in the closing stages of extra time as they lost 3-2 to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.

Messi, who returned to the starting lineup after missing the semi-final victory over Real Sociedad through injury, was dismissed after striking Asier Villalibre in the final minute.

The Argentine had been heavily involved in a more positive way as Barca took the lead five minutes before the break.

Messi's goalbound effort was blocked, falling to the feet of Antoine Griezmann, who netted the first of his two goals.

Bilbao's responded as Oscar De Marcos met Inaki Williams' cross two minutes later to send the sides in level at halftime.

Raul Garcia's header was disallowed for offside by VAR after the restart as Bilbao had the better chances in a tense affair.

However, French forward Griezmann looked to have won it for the Catalans with a goal against the run of play 14 minutes from time, only for substitute Villalibre to volley home in the 90th minute to send the game into the extra period.

Three minutes into the additional half hour Williams curled a stunning effort into the far corner from the edge of the box to give Bilbao the lead for the first time in the tie.

"What a goal it was!," said beaming Bilbao coach Marcelino. "It was a great piece of skill and you couldn't produce a better finish.

"In general I don't think Barca deserved to take the lead, especially in the first half, anyway.

"The lads were so focused on this game and I'm so proud of them. They make your job easy and enjoyable."

Marcelino was only named as coach this month after Gaizka Garitano was dismissed, and the 55-year-old has now beaten Barca in the last two finals they have reached after his success over them with Valencia in the 2019 Copa del Rey final.

"It's going to be impossible to keep up that record," he said. "I don't know how many semi-finals I had to play before actually reaching a final, I think it was eight, but now I've won in two finals."

A third Super Cup title is Bilbao's first silverware since they claimed the same trophy in 2015 with a 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 4:19:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/barcas-messi-sees-red-as-bilbao-claim-super-cup-glory/article33597188.ece

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