Argentina secured third place at the Copa America with a 2-1 victory over Chile on Saturday while Lionel Messi had to leave seeing red card.
In a niggly and fractious match, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi and
Chile captain Gary Medel were given their marching orders eight minutes from half-time after tangling on the goalline.
Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala scored the first half goals that ensured victory for Argentina. But the match will be most remembered for the double sending-off and the melee it sparked.
In what seemed an innocuous clash, a frustrated Messi shoved Medel in the back as the center-back shepherded the ball out of play in the 36th minute
A furious Medel responded by chest-bumping Messi twice in an incident that probably merited no more than a a single yellow card for the Chilean. Incredibly, referee Mario Diaz de Vivar showed the two captains the red card.
It took fully five minutes to calm the situation and get Messi and Medel
to leave the field.
At this point, already 2-0 down, Chile were in danger of losing their heads and Erick Pulgar was lucky to receive only a yellow card for a stamp on
Leandro Paredes that looked a far worse offence that either Messi’s or
Messi had created the opening goal with a quickly-taken free-kick on 12
minutes, picking out Aguero’s clever diagonal run before the forward rounded goalkeeper Gabriel Arias and passed the ball coolly into the empty goal.
Ten minutes later, Dybala doubled the lead with a cool, dinked finish past the advancing Arias after taking a sumptuous Giovani Lo Celso through ball in his stride.
Chile were handed a lifeline when Lo Celso was adjudged to have brought
down Charles Aranguiz on the edge of the penalty area, with Arturo Vidal
slamming home the penalty on 59 minutes.