July 6’s Copa America match for the 3rd and 4th place between Argentina and Chile ended with an exceptional performance by Argentina, which won 2-1. But umpiring decisions in the match has caused much consternation. Right on top is the red card awarded to Argentine and Barcelona mascot Lionel Messi, the playmaker of the Spanish La Liga and European football. Messi and a red card, did you say?
Messi was shown the red in the 37th minute for his corner-line rage with Chilean defensive midfielder and captain Gary Medel. While both got the red card, the replays showed Gary Medel attempting to headbutt Messi and the Argentine captain rearing in self-defence. Medel was apparently furious for what he thought was an attempt by Messi to stamp his feet when the defender was corralling the ball beyond the touchline.
But the situation on the field was intense as players from both sides clashed with each other. Argentina and the legion of Messi fans believe it was clearly Medel’s faults but the referee adjourned both players to leave the field.
Another instance in the game saw referee Mario Diaz de Vivar gave a foul against Argentina and allowed Chile to take the penalty. The referee used the video review before confirming his decision in the 55th minute. Experts and fans believe the video review should have been relied on before showing the red card to Messi in the game and in the game against Brazil, but in both instances, the referees didn’t it opt for it. Brazil won the Copa America eventually beating surprise finalists Peru 3-1.
In the July 6 Argentina-Chile tie, in the 69th minute, Mauricio Isla pushed Nicolas Tagliafico but referee de Vivar refused to call it a foul. These incidents made Messi ascribe the situation to corrupt referees the game and questioned their honesty to the game. Even Medel has expressed surprise at the red card being given to Messi, which was the only second red card in his 136 international appearances.
(By Umang Bhatia, an intern with NewsX.com)
He is on Twitter: @umangbhatia20