Lionel Messi sent off in Copa America third place play-off win

Agency, 7 July : Lionel Messi was controversially sent off as Argentina beat Chile 2-1 to win the Copa America third-place play-off in Sao Paulo.

The Barcelona midfielder was shown a straight red card towards the end of the first half following a confrontation with former Cardiff midfielder Gary Medel, who was also dismissed.

Messi, though, appeared to have been hard done by, with Medel appearing to push his head towards the Argentina playmaker as they squared up.

Argentina, beaten by hosts Brazil in the semi-final, had taken an early lead through Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero.

Chile – whose semi-final defeat by Peru ended hopes of a third straight Copa America title – saw Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez forced off with a suspected hamstring problem before Paulo Dybala made it 2-0 after 22 minutes.

After Messi and Medel were dismissed by Paraguay referee Mario De Vivar, who had consulted a video replay of the incident, Arturo Vidal’s penalty pulled a goal back from Chile on the hour, with the VAR again called into action.

Aguero squandered a couple of late chances to put the result beyond doubt, but Argentina saw out the closing stages to secure third place as their trophy drought goes on.

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