Messi receives two-match ban for Supercopa red

Tanya Simon
January 20, 2021

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Ronald Koeman has defended Lionel Messi after the Barcelona captain received a red card in Sunday's Spanish Super Cup final to Athletic Bilbao.

The Argentine forward was shown a red card at the end of Sunday's 3-2 extra-time defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final after lashing out at Asier Villalibre. The Spanish soccer federation's competition committee did not deem the incident to be too serious and applied a less severe penalty.

Messi had only previously been sent off three times in his professional career and only once at club level.

With his side twice squandering the lead over the course of the match, Messi's frustrations boiled over in the game's closing moments as he petulantly swung an arm at Asier Villalibre. The other time was in the 2019 Copa America in a match against Chile.

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Therefore, he will miss the Copa del Rey game against Cornella and the league trip to Elche - he will return in time for another tussle with Villalibre and Athletic on January 31.

Messi was red-carded 15 years ago for Barca but it was with the reserves in a third division match, according to Spanish statistician Alexis Martin-Tamayo.

The referee made a mistake at the beginning by showing the red card to Jordi Alba instead of Messi.

Referee Jesus Gil Manzano was alerted to the incident by VAR and after watching a replay on the pitchside monitor made a decision to give Messi his marching orders.

Messi, who asked to leave the club in the offseason but had his request denied, is having an average season compared to previous years, having scored 14 goals in 22 matches.

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