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

AFP , Saturday 6 Jul 2019

Argentina v Chile
Paraguayan referee Mario Diaz de Vivar is surrounded by players after showing the red card to Argentina's Lionel Messi and Chile's Gary Medel during the Copa America third-place play-off (Photo: AFP)

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi was sent off after clashing with Chile's Gary Medel during the Copa America third place play-off on Saturday.

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.

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 international matches.

In what seemed an innocuous clash, a frustrated Messi shoved Medel in the back as the center-back shepherded the ball out of play.

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, Paraguayan referee Mario Diaz de Vivar showed the two team captains the red card.

Medel in particular reacted even more angrily as players from both sides squared up to each other and the referee, who lost complete control of the situation.

It took fully five minutes to calm tempers and get a bemused Messi and irrate Medel to leave the field.

Argentina were already 2-0 up by the time of the dismissals following goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala.

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