Arthur and Coutinho are through to the final of the Copa América. But it’s the end of the road for Argentina and Leo Messi following Tuesday’s semi-final, with Brazil advancing on the back of a 2-0 win to meet the winners of tonight’s other semi between Chile (featuring Arturo Vidal) and Peru.
All three Barça players were on for the full ninety in Belo Horizonte.
Despite some early pressure from the Argentines, it was the hosts who took the lead just past the quarter hour mark when a brilliant solo run from former Barça man Dani Alves was finished off by Gabriel Jesús. Shortly before half-time Sergio Agüero struck the post following a chipped free-kick from Messi.
Most of the chances went Argentina’s way after the break, with Messi in the thick of the action – hitting the post and being defied by the same goalkeeper Alisson from those fateful nights against Roma and Liverpool.
Brazil defended solidly, and against the run of play extended their lead when a Gabriel Jesús led counter attack was culminated by Firmino and that was as good as game over.
Brazil advance to their first final since 2007, while Argentina’s quest for their first continental crown since 1993 will have to wait.
Messi: We couldn't convert our chances
Following the game Messi spoke to the media, voicing his discontent with the refereeing, that seemed to side with the hosts and especially two penalty claims that he felt his side was denied.
"We were always trying” he added. “And they weren’t creating chances. We hit the woodwork twice. We couldn’t take the chances we had.”
“But if can keep helping this team in some way, I shall. I felt great with this group … There are some good young players coming through, who love their national team and want to play. There’s a solid future here and we should respect the youngsters. They’re worked very hard – we have material to build upon.”
Source: FC Barcelona