Published: Sun, July 07, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Messi sent off in Copa America 3rd place play-off

Messi sent off in Copa America 3rd place play-off

Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala had scored the goals for Argentina.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Chile's Gary Medel were battling for the ball in the 37th minute of Saturday's contest when Messi appeared to stomp on Medel's heal near the goal line.

Social media users were quick to jump to Messi's defense over the incident, many labelling the decision ridiculous.

Argentina's national team was not impressed at the group stage - the only victory was gained in the final round of Qatar (2: 0), thanks to which the team of Lionel Scaloni and was in the playoffs.

Messi had already loudly complained against Copa América refereeing after Argentina's loss to Brazil in the semifinals, hinting the result was expected because the hosts were allegedly in charge of South American soccer.

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Messi's frustration was evident in the mixed zone after what was only the second red card of his career. "The lack of respect that they have showed us throughout this tournament".

Veteran Chile midfielder Gary Medel also was red carded after the first-half shoving match with Messi at the Arena Corinthians.

Confusion ensued, with players from both teams surrounding the referee.

Chile's Alexis Sanchez limped off clutching his hamstring before Arias made a diving save from an 18-yard Messi drive but was beaten again when Dybala controlled Giovani Lo Celso's throughball and chipped over the goalkeeper from the edge of the six-yard box. They held on to win a scrappy affair 2-1. Team captain Lionel Messi, who was sent off during the match by referee Mario Diaz de Vivar, didn't attend the award ceremony.

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