Lionel Messi (File photo) Photograph:( AFP )
It was Messi's second career red card as the first also for Argentina for elbowing an opponent against hungary back in 2005 in one of his earliest international matches
Argentina defeated Chile 2-1 in the third-place playoff at the Copa America on Saturday in an ill-tempered match that will be remembered for the double sending-off and the melee it sparked.
In the first half of the game, Messi was red-carded after getting into a verbal argument with Chile midfielder Gary Medel that later turned into an ugly confrontation.
Along with Messi, Medel was also ejected.
It was Messi's second career red card as the first also for Argentina for elbowing an opponent against Hungary back in 2005 in his debut match.
In the 37th minute of the game, Messi and Medel got involved in a ball dispute near an end line.
Messi came in hard from behind to try to take the ball but Medel wasn't happy as both the players got into each other's faces.
Medel started to push Messi and both the players bumped into each other with their chests and shoulders.
Referee Mario Diaz de Vivar intervened immediately and sent off both players.
Watch the video:
Messi fan boys won't show you who drew the first blood.— Iron Born 💪🏽 (@Ikemchingy) July 6, 2019
They are focused on the agenda to defend the midget. pic.twitter.com/IEFm3diEKe
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni and Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda criticised the referee's decision to send off both players in the first half.
"I saw the replay and I cannot understand what he did to be sent off. It would be interesting to heard from the referee what he saw, and what the VAR people did they saw," said Scaloni.
"It was obvious that the referee took a very quick and strange decision, and the worse of all was that VAR did not rectify his decision," he added.
On the other hand, Rueda said, "It was a pity what happened. it was a situation that it could have been managed (by the referee) in a different way with both teams playing with 10-men."
In the Copa final, Brazil will face Peru.