Barcelona and Lionel Messi missed the chance to win their first trophy under Ronald Koeman as they fell to an agonizing 3-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Supecopa de Espana final.
The Blaugrana seemed to be in complete control of the game after Antoine Griezmann’s double put them in a winning position. However, the Basque club had other plans as they scored a 90th minute equaliser to force the game into extra time.
Things really turned sour for Barcelona in extra time as Inaki Williams popped up to score a 3rd goal for Athletic in the 93rd minute. The misery was compounded for Ronald Koeman and his men when captain and talisman Lionel Messi received the first red card of his Barcelona career for a clash off the ball.
Speaking to Mundo Deportivo after the match, Ronald Koeman admitted that Barcelona were sad and disappointed with the result:
“You have to analyze the game, it’s difficult. We are sad and disappointed, because we wanted to win.
“It’s not a step backwards. A title is convenient to show that you’re on the right path, but we’ve still showed that we are. We’ve done everything to win, but we were very tired. For many players it will prove a good experience to have played in this final.”
Antoine Griezmann who had a fine game and gave Barcelona the lead twice was furious and blasted the lack of defensive leadership in his side. Speaking to Movistar (via Marca), the French forward said:
“How do you think we are? We’re screwed, angry, upset. When you lose a final these are all the bad feelings you have.
“Athletic pressed very well. They gave everything until the last minute, and then what happened happened. We have made mistakes in our strategy and we’ll have to work on it during the week. We didn’t defend well, we didn’t communicate. When the ball comes out someone needs to shout.”
Lionel Messi who made his return after suffering an injury against Granada was heavily involved in the opening exchanges and played a huge role in the first goal. However, as the game wore on, the Argentine cut a more and more frustrated figure.
It all boiled over in the 121st minute, when Lionel Messi was caught punching Villalibre at the back of his head and was sent off after a VAR review.
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Published 18 Jan 2021, 11:42 IST