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Messi handed two-match ban for red card against Athletic

Lionel Messi has been handed a two-match ban for striking Athletic Bilbao player Asier Villalibre during the Super Cup final, which led to his first red card for Barcelona.

Messi, en el momento de ser expulsado.
Toni Rodriguez

Lionel Messi has been handed a two-match ban for his red card offense in Barcelona’s Super Cup final defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Frustrations were running high among the Barcelona players after they threw away a 2-1 lead by giving away two goals in quick succession – one in injury time and the other just minutes into the first period of extra time.

With Barcelona trailing 2-3 and on the verge of defeat, Messi was sent off in the 120th minute for striking Athletic player Asier Villalibre. It was Messi's first red card while playing with the Barcelona first team, coming on his 753rd appearance.

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Messi escapes longer ban

The Spanish Football Federation’s Competition Committee announced on Tuesday that the Barcelona captain will be handed a two-match sanction, which it said was the suitable punishment for this type of misconduct.

As a result, Messi has avoided the possibility of a sanction of between four and twelve games, which would have been applied had he been deemed to have committed an attack on Villalibre, as stipulated under article 98 of Federation rules.

As a result, Messi will miss Thursday’s Copa del Rey fixture against Cornellà – a game which he was expected to sit out anyway – and Sunday’s LaLiga meeting with Elche.