SAO PAULO – Lionel Messi was sent off before half-time as Argentina beat Chile 2-1 to win in Copa América football tournament third-place play-off in São Paulo on Saturday.
The match was 34 minutes old when Chile’s captain, Gary Medel, shepherded out a ball near his own goal. Messi challenged him from behind and Medel reacted angrily, pushing the Argentinian and raising his hands.
The Paraguayan referee, Mario Díaz de Vivar, showed Medel a red card and although Messi did not react he was also sent off, prompting boos at Arena Corinthians.
It was only the second red card of Messi’s career, the first also coming while playing for Argentina on his debut against Hungary in 2005. The referee showed seven yellow cards in a match that was broken up with 37 fouls.
Sergio Agüero put Argentina 1-0 ahead after 12 minutes and Paulo Dybala made it two 10 minutes later with a nice finish after Giovani Lo Celso had put him through on goal.
Arturo Vidal pulled one back for Chile from the penalty spot 14 minutes into the second half.
Brazil, the hosts, face Peru in the final today in Rio de Janeiro.