Published: Mon, July 08, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Lionel Messi, Gary Medel Sent Off After Scuffle In Copa America Game

Lionel Messi, Gary Medel Sent Off After Scuffle In Copa America Game

Lionel Messi was sent off before half-time and then angrily hit out at "corrupt" tournament organisers after Argentina beat Chile 2-1 to win a bad-tempered third-place play-off at the Copa America on Sunday morning (July 7, Singapore time).

Messi had shoved Medel in the back as the Chile captain shepherded the ball out of play. Though Messi did not react to the attack, the Paraguayan referee, Mario Díaz de Vivar, made a decision to show red card to both Medel and Messi.

This was Messi's first red card with Argentina since 2005.

Both players were worthy of a yellow card, but the referee bizarrely gave both men a straight red card.

After the match, which Argentina won 2-1 thanks to first-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala before Arturo Vidal scored a penalty, Messi did not appear with his teammates to collect his medal.

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It was only Barcelona forward Messi's second career red card - the first also for Argentina for elbowing an opponent against hungary back in 2005 in one of his earliest worldwide matches.

Argentina lost 2-0 to Brazil in the semi-final of the competition, with La Albiceleste lodging an official complaint for the officiating in that tie. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.

'We don't have to be part of this corruption, ' he said.

"I feel that we should be playing the final right now, but we got the consolation prize of winning the third-place game, which is the least we had to do. Unfortunately, I think it is prepared for Brazil [to win it]", Messi said. "Two people going chest to chest can't be a red card", believing Messi was harshly sent off. "They have showed us a lack of respect throughout this tournament".

"These accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the participating players and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, an institution that since 2016 has been working tirelessly to make transparent, professionalise and develop South American football".

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