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'We saw what you saw' - AFA weighs in on Copa controversy

22:04 GMT+3 03/07/2019
Lionel Messi Argentina 2019
The Argentine governing body has weighed in on the events in Belo Horizonte that saw a penalty appeal by Sergio Aguero not referred to VAR

The Argentina football authorities have weighed in on the controversy surrounding the officiating in their Copa America semi-final defeat to Brazil on Tuesday night.

The Albiceleste were seen off 2-0 by the Selecao in Belo Horizonte after goals by Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino scotched their hopes of advancing to a third straight final of the South American showpiece.

The Argentine players were incensed after a penalty appeal in the run-up to Firmino’s game-sealing goal wasn’t even referred to the video assistant review.

Ecuadorian referee Roddy Zambrano saw nothing wrong with a tackle on Sergio Aguero by Brazil right back Dani Alves, and the perceived injustice was compounded as Brazil mounted a swift counter-attack which resulted in the Liverpool forward’s goal.

The Argentina Football Association (AFA) took to their official Twitter account to thank their players and commiserate with their fans.

“We saw the same thing as you,” the tweet reads

“Thanks to our players for their unconditional effort.”

While the AFA’s tweet was presumably a veiled reference to the controversy, the reaction of two of Argentina’s stars was less equivocal.

Lionel Messi blasted the officiating, calling it ‘bullsh*t’ and alleging bias in favour of Brazil, and referring to the five yellow cards his team collected.

The Barcelona star said after the match that he believes the officials called the match in Brazil's favour, leaving Argentina helpless against their fierce rivals.

Aguero was also incredulous about the non-referral.

The Manchester City player, along with Messi, hit the post during an Argentina fightback that was ended by Firmino’s goal.

“The feeling is not good. The second goal was controversial,” Aguero told reporters. “Juan [Foyth, the Argentina defender] stops thinking the referee was going to stop. VAR worked very well until today – incredible.

“I do not know why he didn’t check it. At the time [Zambrano] might not see it, and they told us VAR would become like a fifth referee.”

Brazil will now face the winner of Chile and Peru in the Copa America finale as the two sides collide on Wednesday in the second semi-final.

Argentina, meanwhile, failed to advance to the final for the first time since 2011, having appeared in four of the last five finales.