Copa America: Brazil vs Argentina referee responds to Lionel Messi's comments, explains decisions during the game
What's the story?
Ecuadorian referee Roddy Zambrano, who took charge of the contest during Brazil's semi-final win over Argentina in the Copa America, has explained his controversial decisions during the game, and responded to the claims made against the match officials by Lionel Messi afterwards.
In case you didn't know...
Zambrano faced the wrath of the Argentine players, particularly Messi, when he overlooked what appeared to be clear penalties for the Albiceleste during their 2-0 defeat to the Selecao in the semi-finals of the Copa America.
The first challenge was made by Dani Alves on Sergio Aguero while the second challenge saw Arthur nudge Nicolas Otamendi in the box. The challenges were either resolved to be in Brazil's favour or were waved away without any use of the VAR.
The decisions resulted in an irate Messi accusing the match officials of making "bull****" decisions that were in the hosts' favour. The 32-year-old initially asked the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) to look into the matter but later accused the organisation of setting up this year's tournament for Brazil's eventual victory.
The heart of the matter
Speaking on radio station Super K-800, Zambrano explained the controversial decisions he took during the semi-final clash between Brazil and Argentina, saying (via Marca), "Otamendi also went in to challenge, it's not an elbow [from Arthur]. VAR looked at it and determined that it was 50/50, they didn't tell me to look at it, they didn't consider to be a clear penalty."
"In Monday's report, I say that they should've called me [to have a look at it on the pitchside screens]. In the first phase [Aguero-Alves], it's almost a foul on the defender. Why didn't they see the camera from behind?"
When asked about Messi's comments, the referee replied, "[Messi] dedicates himself to playing and I never had any problems with him. His declarations surprised me, but everyone has their opinions."
Messi could be punished with a two-year ban from international football, which means he could miss the next edition of the Copa America. Brazil, on the other hand, went on to win the tournament, their first Copa win since 2007.