Barcelona lost to Athetic Bilbao 2: 3 after extra time, and Leo Messi lost their nerves in the end. The Argentinian in the final of the Spanish Super Cup punched his opponent and received the first red card in the colors of the “Duma of Catalonia”.
The broken Basque team had been taken over by coach Marcelino Garcia just a week earlier, and had already led Athetic to great success. In the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup, he easily eliminated Real Madrid after an even match (2: 1), and on Sunday night he was able to celebrate the third such title in the club’s history with his charges. Bilbao did not break down despite conceding two goals, each time matching the favored FC Barcelona.
The final in Seville started with a strong strike from Athletic who tried to threaten the goal guarded by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Iker Munian and Inaki Williams were often in front of the game, and the hand-to-hand combat was led by Raul Garcia, the hero of the recent match with Real Madrid with two goals on his account.
Until the end of the first half, “Duma Catalonia” was unable to get quickly into the opponent’s penalty area – the center of the field was failing. With the exception of Frenki de Jong, the entire midfield played too slowly. 18-year-old Pedri failed, Ousmane Dembele lost duels, and Leo Messi had no connection with Antoine Griezmann.
The flash of Argentinean genius was enough to take the lead. In the 40th minute, the Barcelona captain had a great glimpse of Jordi Alba coming to the open position. The Spaniard gave the ball to the center of the penalty area, which was struck by Griezmann among the crowd of Athletic defenders. The favorite started shooting in this match.
The joy of Ronald Koeman’s players did not last too long, because only after a minute, Oscar de Marcos used the great Muniain throw. The entire defensive of the runners-up fell asleep, Alba waited unsuccessfully for Bilbao to be blown offside. After the break, the match picked up offensive pace, both teams exchanged blows.
Barcelona was the first to hit the net again – this time Griezmann used Alba’s conscious pass along the penalty area to score a double in the 77th minute. Meanwhile, VAR saw an offside position with an unrecognized goal headed by Raul Garcia.
Athletic tried to equalize but they got it wrong in fantastic situations, either Williams or Raul. Griezmann squandered an opportunity for a hat-trick. As it seemed the fast versus Barcelona would close the game, de Jong found himself struggling with goalkeeper Unai Simon in a one-on-one situation. This took advantage of Bilbao. Muniain had a throw-in in the 92nd minute, and Asier Villalibre scored an equalizing goal. At that moment, Athetic believed that it could beat a bigger rival.
Overtime couldn’t have started better for the brave “dragons”. Williams captured the ball in the penalty area and had a great shot into the far corner of Ter Stegen – the German was without a chance. The Catalans still had a lot of time to bring about a draw and penalty kicks. However, they played similarly to the first half – sluggishly, without an idea, and in addition, Bilbao’s defenders often threw them off balance with fouls away from their own “sixteen”.
While de Jong mentally withstood the pulling on the shirt, Leo Messi wrapped his opponent with two hooks. As the replays showed, he was not brutally attacked by the Ahtletic player. The Argentine attacked his opponent out of frustration, although defenders from the Basque country often fouled the star during the match. Messi has seen the red card and will probably be sidelined in the next four league meetings.
The captain walked off the pitch, shaking his head in disbelief at the referee’s decision. The punch attack in the finals was history after Messi’s first exclusion in 753 games for the “Catalan Duma”.
His Barcelona missed an opportunity for the first and perhaps last trophy of the season. The Catalans are 7 points behind the leader Atletico Madrid, with two more games played. In the Champions League in the 1/8 finals they will play against PSG and the French champions are the clear favorites in the aggregate.
Source: Salon24.pl: Strona główna by www.salon24.pl.
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