MADRID, Jan 18 — Lionel Messi was despatched off for the primary time enjoying for Barcelona as Athletic Bilbao shocked the Catalans to win the Spanish Tremendous Cup yesterday, a dramatic remaining ending 3-2 after extra-time. Moments earlier than Bilbao’s momentous triumph was confirmed, Messi threw an arm at Asier Villalibre, who had earlier scored a 90th-minute equaliser in regular time to disclaim Barca victory. Antoine Griezmann’s double seemed to have sealed the trophy however Villalibre intervened earlier than Inaki Williams’ fabulous strike three minutes into additional time proved decisive.
Messi shook off a thigh downside to start out in Seville and was required to play all 120 minutes as Barcelona tried to take the sport to penalties. As a substitute, the 33-year-old misplaced his mood on the finish of a combative contest, reacting to a late problem from Villalibre by swiping his fingers throughout the again of his opponent. It meant a primary ever pink card for Messi in 753 appearances for Barcelona, to go along with his two reds for Argentina in 2005 and 2019. “After so a few years in soccer, Leo is aware of completely nicely when he’s match to play,” stated Barca coach Ronald Koeman.
“We talked and he stated he was in place to start out. He has survived the sport, given the utmost, nothing extra.” Messi’s anger will take a few of the limelight away from Bilbao, who had already denied the competitors a Clasico remaining by beating Actual Madrid within the semi on Thursday and now have accomplished the set. It means a title and the proper begin for Marcelino Garcia Toral, who solely took over as coach lower than two weeks in the past. However there was reward too for his predecessor Gaizka Garitano, who oversaw this crew reaching the Copa del Rey remaining final season, which earned qualification within the first place.
“That is for Gaizka Garitano and his teaching workers as nicely who introduced us right here,” stated Williams. Organisers on the Spanish Soccer Federation may need hoped for the worldwide attraction of a Clasico, particularly because the coronavirus pandemic had already stored the event in Spain reasonably than the profitable Saudi Arabia, the place it was performed final yr. But this was a frantic remaining, with a massively stunning outcome. Barca arrived on the again of a nine-game unbeaten run and a trophy, even a minor one, would have turned encouraging indicators in current weeks into extra tangible proof of a revival underneath Koeman.
“It’s not a step again,” he stated “All the time profitable titles is useful to indicate that we’re heading in the right direction, however it is just one recreation, it’s a Tremendous Cup, and we are going to present within the subsequent few video games that we’re heading in the right direction.” Bilbao have been the higher aspect within the first half, extra decisive in possession and extra aggressive out of it. However each groups created little for 40 minutes after which in two minutes each had scored. A superb move created every of them, Messi the instigator for Barca. He collected from the fitting and threaded by way of for Jordi Alba on the left, whose cut-back was meant for the Argentinian however spilled out to Griezmann, who couldn’t miss.
Marcelino hurled his water bottle to the bottom in disgust however his crew have been quickly degree. Williams performed the move, his clipped ball excessive catching Alba off-guard, with Oscar De Marcos sneaking in and half-volleying house. Raul Garcia thought he had his third aim in 4 days when he headed in simply earlier than the hour however Barca survived. With 10 minutes left, Griezmann struck once more, Alba’s cross evading the Bilbao defence and discovering the Frenchman, who steered in on the entrance publish for what seemed just like the winner. As a substitute, Bilbao scored within the 90th minute to ship the sport to extra-time after which the 93rd to guide for the primary time.
Villalibre was allowed to volley in from shut vary however there was little Barca might do about Williams’ effort, the striker slicing inside from the left and whipping an incredible shot into the highest right-hand nook. Unai Nunez may need sealed it however failed to attach. Griezmann nearly rescued it however fired excessive on the volley along with his proper foot.Then Villalibre left a shoulder in on Messi, who reacted, scuttling after his opponent and swinging an arm across the again of his head. Messi and Barca have been crushed. — AFP