Lionel Messi could only look on as goals from Premier League duo Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino helped Brazil to a 2-0 win over rivals Argentina in their 2019 Copa America semi-final on Wednesday morning.
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There was an intense atmosphere at the Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto as two of South America's biggest footballing nations prepared to do battle.
While neither team looked convincing in the previous round, the Selecao went into the clash as the favourites given that they had not conceded a goal in eight matches.
Manchester City striker Jesus gave his country the lead in the 19th minute when he got on the end of a low and hard cross from Firmino. The Liverpool man was released by Dani Alves, who skipped past two challenges in the build-up, before firing the ball into the box.
Messi was fairly uninvolved in the opening 20 minutes, but started to become more influential as he looked to create an opening for his teammates.
Forward Sergio Aguero hit the crossbar in the 30th minute after captain Messi has chipped a dangerous ball into the Brazil area. The ball was cleared after coming off the woodwork, though, with the score remaining 1-0 until half-time.
Not long after the break, Messi hit the crossbar himself after striking a left-footed volley at goal. The 32-year-old then picked up the loose ball and put the ball back into the middle, but Aguero was unable to get a foot on it.
The FC Barcelona star went close with a free-kick in the 66th minute, bending his effort over the wall, but Brazil goalkeeper Alisson was equal to his strike.
Five minutes later, perhaps against the run of play, Liverpool's Firmino made the score 2-0 after being found by Jesus, a goal that put Brazil in a great position for the rest of the match.