Copa America 2019: Brazil captain Dani Alves backs Lionel Messi's criticism of referees after semi-final
What's the story?
Brazil captain Dani Alves has backed former teammate Lionel Messi's criticism of the refereeing decisions taken during the Copa America semi-final clash between Argentina and the Selecao on Tuesday.
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Brazil progressed to the finals of the Copa America after a 2-0 victory over rivals Argentina, courtesy of goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino.
The game caused controversy after Argentine players accused the match officials of making biased decisions, with Messi bluntly calling the refereeing "bull****".
The Argentine captain said, "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 bulls***, 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."
The alleged misjudgement escalated when Alves appeared to foul Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero in the penalty area a few moments before Brazil's second goal. Ecuadorian official Roddy Zambrano faced the wrath of the Albiceleste when he refused to consult VAR and proceeded to ignore the challenge.
The heart of the matter
Alves, who was on the other end of the challenge on Aguero, has now shared his thoughts on the allegations launched by his former Barcelona teammate, Messi. According to Marca, the 36-year-old said, "The referee was more nervous than us, I understand Leo."
He added, "Argentina has many difficult players, we had to make a barbaric effort so that our lines were always together. This rewards the one who was more successful today."
Brazil will go head-to-head against Peru in the Copa America final on Sunday. Messi's wait for an international trophy continues, this time under controversial circumstances.