FC Barcelona missed out on the opportunity to win their first trophy since 2019 on Sunday, following a thrilling 2-3 defeat at the hands of Athletic Bilbao at the Spanish Super Cup final (Supercopa de España).

The story of the day was how Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was thrown out of the match after being shown a red card in stoppage time. What makes the incident sensational is how this is the Argentine's first red card as a Barcelona player. He was only ever shown the red card (twice) while playing with his national team.

It took Messi 753 appearances for the Catalan giants before being thrown out with a straight red. The VAR was involved as the Barca captain was caught taking a swing at Bilbao's Asier Villalibre in the 120th minute of the final.

The ejection was a major blow for Barcelona, as Super Cup suspensions are allowed to spill over into other domestic competitions.

In the final, Barcelona had a good start with Antoine Griezmann scoring the opening goal in the 40th minute. However, Oscar de Marcos equalised almost immediately after. The match stood level at the break but Griezmann put Barcelona ahead once again in the 77th minute.

All they had to do was defend fiercely and wind the clock down but Villalibre had other ideas. He chipped in from a free kick in the final minute of regulation time, forcing the match into extra time.

Iñaki Williams then scored a scorching long-distance winner that flew past a fully outstretched Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The goal put Athletic Bilbao 2-3 ahead, sealing the victory. The thrilling encounter has led to only the second trophy for Athletic since 1985. On the other hand, Barcelona missed out on a chance to win the Super Cup title for the 14th time.

Barca manager Ronald Koeman is likely extremely disappointed to have let the opportunity slip, as it would have been his first silverware in charge of the club.

He will now be leading the club towards tough matches ahead without the club's captain. Messi is facing a ban of at least four games including La Liga and Copa del Rey matches.

Lionel Messi
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi was sent off as Athletic Bilbao won the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday. AFP / CRISTINA QUICLER