Friday, 9 February 2018

Lionel Messi loses his shirt after challenge by Francis Coquelin in Copa del Rey clash

Francis Coquelin came up with one of the more obscure ways of stopping Lionel Messi on Thursday night as his challenge saw him pull the Barcelona star's shirt off his back.
The match was tied 0-0 after 34 minutes with Barcelona bringing a 1-0 aggregate advantage to the Mestalla as both pushed for a breakthrough.
Messi was looking lively throughout and was causing Valencia all sorts of issues, which former Arsenal midfielder Coquelin sought to control.
The pair were caught up in a heated contest for the ball as Coquelin discovered how difficult it really is to dispossess Barcelona's Argentine magician.
As his frustrations grew, Coquelin got hold of Messi's shirt and tugged away but tugged so hard the top came off an over the shoulders of the Barca forward.
But as all this unravelled in front of the Mestalla, the only real surprise - other than the fact that it's even impossible to relieve Messi of his own shirt - was that the referee waved Valencia on as Messi stood there in utter bemusement.
Nonetheless, Messi would get the last laugh as Philippe Coutinho was introduced as a half time substitute and went on to score his first goal for the club, before Ivan Rakitic added a second with 10 minutes to play.
Barca progressed into the Copa del Rey final for the fourth successive time and will face a repeat of the 2016 final with Sevilla on April 21.

However, while the outcome of the final will have to wait, one thing is certain. Messi and Coquelin didn't swap shirts at full time.

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