Hosts Brazil progressed to the final of the Copa America 2019 with a 2-0 victory over bitter rivals Argentina on Tuesday.
Premier League forwards Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino produced one of their best performances for Brazil by scoring one goal and assisting one each, to send their team to the finals of Copa America.
Argentina looked a bit shaky in the beginning and conceded an early goal, when Dani Alves bursted from the right and linked with Firmino. He crossed low to an unmarked Jesus who tapped in the ball to give them the lead in the 19th minute. After conceding a goal Argentina came into full attacking prowess and restructured their defence.
Argentina came very close to scoring early in the second half, when Lionel Messi floated a freekick which was well headed by Sergio Aguero but came off the crossbar.
A counter attack lead by a foul not given by the referee in the Brazilian box was very skillfully carried by Jesus who assisted Firmino for a tap in, who stood alone, unmarked. The Brazilians further led 2-0 with this goal.
Messi criticized the refereeing decisions made and also the VAR. He 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,” Messi told reporters.
“They [the officials] had booked a lot of bullsh*t, 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 bullsh*t distracted us from the game.There is no excuses for us, but we need to review this, analyse it and let’s hope CONMEBOL does something about it.
“I think we played a great game. We made a great effort and they were not superior to us.”
Lionel Messi came very close to scoring in the second half, when he struck an outrageous volley which only was stopped by the post. Brazil’s defence remained untested prior to this match, but they had a lot of work to do in this match. Brazil who generally are the more attacking side in every game had to do the majority of defending against Argentina. Argentina had 14 shots on goal, while Brazil only had 4.
Brazil captain Dani Alves in a post match interview said,“There is one more step to go before we fulfil our objective.The standard here is very high there are no easy teams. You have to work and fight for what you want and we worked for this.”
Brazil who won their last Copa America in 2007 will face the winners of the other semifinal, played between Chile and Peru on Thursday. The final will be played at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.