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Real Sociedad’s Asier Illarramendi believes Lionel Messi should have been sent off in their 1-0 Copa del Rey defeat to Barcelona on Thursday. 

The Argentinian received a yellow card for time wasting in the first half at the Anoeta Stadium but escaped a second for obstructing the midfielder as he attempted to take a quick free-kick. Per ESPN FC’s Samuel Marsden, Illarramendi said:

The offside against [David] Zurutuza is not offside and Messi…that’s always been a yellow-card offense.

If he’d been wearing another shirt he would have been sent off. But whatever, we have to pick ourselves up.

The win was Barca’s first at Sociedad in a decade.

The only red card in Messi’s career came on his Argentina debut back in 2005, so it’s not a familiar scenario for the forward.

Illarramendi also took to Twitter to vent his frustrations, writing: “Once again, the same as always! Once again…”

Per Marca, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic responded: “I don’t know why he is complaining. Sometimes it is better to keep your mobile phone in your pocket for a little longer.”

The Spaniard did have a point, however—Messi was fortunate not to receive his marching orders, and Zurutuza was undoubtedly onside when he was picked out with a free-kick.

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La Real also benefited from some questionable refereeing, though, as Neymar was booked for diving when he should perhaps have had a penalty from Geronimo Rulli’s challenge.

The two sides will face off again next Thursday for the second leg of the tie, which will be held at the Camp Nou.

Barca’s lead and away goal gives them the advantage heading into the match, and being at home it’s expected they’ll win without too much trouble.

The Blaugrana have not always been convincing of late, though, so with their lead so narrow they’ll still need to produce a strong performance to reach the semi-finals.

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