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Lionel Messi sent off for slapping opposition player’s head


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Lionel Messi was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident on Athletico Bilbao’s Asier Villalibre in the Spanish Super Cup final.

With Barcelona trailing Athletico Bilbao 3-2 in the dying minutes of extra time, Messi lashed out at the opposition player from behind, resulting in a straight sending off for the Argentine legend after a VAR review.

The red card is the first of Messi’s club career with Barcelona, and didn’t do the Catalan side any favours as they succumbed to a 3-2 loss at the Estadio La Cartuja in Seville.

Barcelona looked to have the game all wrapped up in normal time, leading 2-1 as the approached the 90th minute thanks to a brace of goals from Antoine Greizmann.

However, a last-minute goal from the man Messi would later lash out at, Asier Villalibre, sent the Super Cup final to extra time.

Athletic Bilbao pushed on from there, with Inaki Williams scoring the decisive goal three minutes into the first half of extra time.

Barcelona’s mid-season struggles

For now, the Catalan giant’s wait for silverware must go on, having last gotten their hands on a trophy in 2019 when they won La Liga title.

Barcelona have been struggling so far this season, sitting in third place in La Liga table, trailing Athletic Madrid by seven points at the top despite having played two games more than them.

Ronald Koeman’s side have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, but a tough challenge awaits them there in the shape of last year’s beaten finalists Paris Saint-Germain.

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