Lionel Messi has accused the referees of favouring Brazil as Argentina crashed out of the Copa America with a 2-0 defeat in the semifinal in Belo Horizonte.
The Barcelona star again failed to have a decisive impact in the match for his nation as the hosts took the most of their opportunities with goals to Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino in either half sealing a place in the final.
Messi was scathing of the performance from the Video Assistant Referee and match official Roddy Zambrano, using a postmatch interview to criticize the decision to not award a penalty to Sergio Aguero just prior to Firmino’s 71st-minute strike.
Messi told reporters:
“They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn’t award,” .
“They [the officials] had booked a lot of bullsh*t-, but they didn’t even check the VAR. That’s incredible.
“That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil’s] favour and this kind of bulls- distracted us from the game.
“There is no excuses for us, but we need to review this, analyze it and let’s hope CONMEBOL does something about it.
“I think we played a great game. We made a great effort and they were not superior to us.”
Argentina had 10 more shots at Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson than their opponents managed in attack (14-4) and struck the woodwork twice as they came agonizingly close to getting back into the contest.
Aguero looped a header onto the crossbar with Alisson well-beaten in the first half shortly after Jesus earned the lead and Messi slammed a shot into the post in the second period after Lautaro Martinez’s drive was blocked.
The Selecao took both of their chances clinically as Jesus and Firmino both side-footed into the net from close range after being teed up by the other.
Brazil will host the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between Chile and Peru in a final to be hosted Sunday at the Maracana.
They will be aiming to win their first Copa America since triumphing in Venezuela during the 2007 edition.