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Messi gets first-ever Barcelona red card in Spanish Super Cup defeat



Athletic Bilbao won the Spanish Super Cup at the La Cartuja Stadium on Sunday night courtesy of a come-from-behind 3-2 extra-time victory over Barcelona who had Lionel Messi, their captain sent off for violent conduct.

It was Messi’s first-ever Barcelona red card and it came in his 753rd game for the club where he has broken almost every record available.

Messi, who had a quiet evening for Barcelona, crowned the Catalans’ miserable night with a red card for violent conduct in the last minute of extra time.

The 33-year-old Argentine bundled a Bilbao player to the ground off the ball and was given the marching order following a VAR review.

Athletic Bilbao, on the other hand, earned their third Super Cup title and their first since 2015 when they also defeated Barcelona.

Marcelino, Bilbao’s new manager who joined the club earlier this month, also recorded his second cup final win over Barcelona, following his 2019 triumph with Valencia in the Copa Del Rey final.

With two wins apiece in their past five meetings, both clubs delivered a pulsating match that required extra time to separate them with Bilbao punishing a tired Barcelona in extra time, courtesy of Inaki William’s wonder goal.

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring in the 40th minute, pouncing on a loose ball that fell to him from Lionel Messi’s blocked shot to slot home from 10 yards out.

Athletic Bilbao restored parity two minutes later through Oscar de Marcos. The versatile midfielder ghosted between Barcelona’s defenders to bury Williams’ cross for a 1-1 scoreline at halftime.

The Basque side would have a goal chalked off for offside by the VAR that adjudged that Raul Garcia was inches offside as he met a free kick with a powerful header.

Griezmann restored Barcelona’s lead in the 77th minute when he again slotted home Jordi Alba’s cross for his sixth goal contribution in his last six matches.

A dramatic end to regulation time saw Asier Villalibre, who was introduced from the bench on the 73rd-minute, volleyed into the top corner from Iker Muniain’s deep free-kick to steal a last-minute equalizer and force an extra time.

Bilbao then punished their tired-looking but more illustrious opponent three minutes into extra time through the brilliant Williams.

The striker collected Muniain’s pass and curled perfectly into the top corner from the edge of the box to make it 3-2 and hand Athletic the lead for the first time in the encounter.




Tokyo Olympics: Australia beat Nigeria 84-67 in Basketball opener



Australia’s Boomers beat Nigeria’s Tigers 84-67 in a commanding performance on Sunday night in Tokyo with star player Patty Mills scoring 25 points as both nations opened their quest for a first Olympic medal in men’s basketball.

Australia matched its best finish by finishing fourth at the Rio Games in 2016 but is capable of going further this time with a veteran roster full of NBA players.

The Australians, ranked third in the world, pulled away in the fourth quarter of a game that had been evenly matched between teams with the most NBA players outside of the U.S.

Nigeria’s D’Tigers featured eight current NBA players and the Australians seven.

Both teams won exhibition games in Las Vegas against the Americans, who have 12 NBA players on their roster.

Australia opened an 11-point lead midway through the third quarter after holding the Nigerians without a basket for more than five minutes to open the second half.

But the Australians lost momentum soon after when the game was delayed because the horn was malfunctioning, and Nigeria cut the deficit to five early in the fourth.

But Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers made a 3-pointer and then Mills, the San Antonio Spurs guard who was a flag bearer for the Australians in the opening ceremony, helped break it open.

Obi Emegano scored 12 points for Nigeria, led by Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown.

Australia plays Italy on Tuesday in matchup of teams that won in Group B on the opening day. Nigeria faces Germany.

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PHOTOS: Nigeria dazzles in Tokyo Olympic opening parade






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Arsenal agree £50m deal for Brighton’s defender



Arsenal has agreed on a deal in principle for the £50m transfer of Brighton & Hove Albion defender Ben White.

White was a late call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England Euro 2020 squad.

It completes a meteoric rise for the 23-year-old, who was released by Southampton as a youngster before being signed by Brighton.

He went on a number of loans from the Seagulls, including to Leeds’ Championship title-winning side in 2019-20.

White’s performances for Leeds attracted the attention of many leading clubs and prompted Brighton to secure him on a new four-year contract last summer.

That deal put the Seagulls in a strong negotiating position this summer and it is understood they rejected two bids from the Gunners before agreement was finally reached amid interest from other Premier League clubs.

White is on holiday so the transfer, including his medical, will not be completed until he returns.

The transfer comes as Arsenal part ways with Brazil defender David Luiz after his contract expired.

The Gunners have also signed 21-year-old left-back Nuno Tavares from Benfica for £8m this summer.

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