Two plays inside the area against Agüero and Otamendi in the 2019 semifinal infuriated the Albiceleste captain.
"All the bullshit was charged in their favor. There were penalties throughout the Cup, and today they did not even consult the VAR". Those explosive statements by Lionel Messi echoed around the world. Argentina had just lost in the 2019 Copa América semifinal to Brazil. The host and the Albiceleste captain decided to break his usual conciliatory tone to express his fury against the refereeing. The reason? Two controversial situations inside the area had protagonists Sergio Agüero and Nicolás Otamendi.
That was the last official confrontation that both South American powers had and was marked by the two controversial situations that neither the main referee Roddy Zambrano nor the judge in charge of the VAR Leodán González noticed. The fastest time came in the 70th minute when the homeowner won 1-0 with a goal from Gabriel Jesus.
The Kun dominated in the middle of the field, played with Lautaro Martínez, and stung to generate space for Messi. The captain took the ball, hooked and released it for Agüero, who just at that moment fell in the area after a collision with Dani Alves. The action almost went unnoticed at that time by the players in the effusiveness of the moment, but from that same situation came the second goal from Roberto Firmino immediately.
With a score of 2-0, the referee and the VAR once again had a starring role in that semifinal. After a corner from the left, Nicolás Otamendi went to the penalty spot searching for the ball but was met with a brutal butt from Arthur and fell to the ground. Nobody charged anything, and the judge did not attend the VAR screen either.
"They got tired of charging nonsense throughout the Copa América, and today they didn't take a penalty from Otamendi. It is to analyze it", claimed Messi after the meeting. "The referee conditioned. The Chiquita collected them all for Brazil. I didn't like how he directed," Lionel Scaloni joined in at the time.
Days after this occurred, Wilson Seneme, in charge of the Conmebol arbitration, acknowledged that there were errors in this momentous duel. "In Nicolás Otamendi's play, we saw proof to review. We gave general feedback to the referees and said there was potential for review. Giving the referee a second chance is complying with the protocol. It is better to invite a referee to the review than not to review," Seneme said at the time. Although he assured that what happened with Kun was not a penalty or required revision: "It was not a penalty, it was a stomp from the striker to the defender, there were no revision characteristics."
Finally, Brazil defeated the Argentine team 2-0, and in the final, they were crowned champion of the tournament before their people. The combined albiceleste, meanwhile, stayed in third place after beating Chile.