Lionel Messi accused Uruguay of showing a “lack of respect” after Marcelo Bielsa’s team stunned Argentina in Buenos Aires.
Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez scored to inflict a first defeat on Argentina since their World Cup win last December. The goals conceded were also the first since Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick in the Qatar showpiece.
Uruguay were physical and confrontational throughout – with Manuel Ugarte at the heart of a first-half flashpoint after making a crude gesture in the direction of Rodrigo De Paul – and Messi felt they overstepped the mark.
Speaking in the on-field interview, he said: “It’s normal in this type of match, against Uruguay, it’s always like this.
“I’d rather not say what I think but these youngsters, who are coming through in a good generation, have to learn respect from their elders. This fixture has always been hard and intense but always played with a lot of respect. They have to learn.”
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An hour later, when the dust had settled, Messi cut a more measured figure when speaking to reporters.
He told Ole: “It was a difficult match, we knew it was going to be this way. We couldn’t find our game, we couldn’t keep possession, move them from one side to the other, which is what we always want to do.
“And they are a very good team, they have good players, they press well, they are dynamic, strong. They hurt us on the counter-attack.”
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Argentina still lead the Conmebol World Cup qualifying table and have the chance to bounce back immediately when they visit the Maracana to take on Brazil on Tuesday.
“We have to react,” said Messi. “We knew from the beginning that the qualifiers are very difficult, at any moment we could suffer a defeat.
“Now we have to go to a difficult stadium with what it means to play against Brazil at the Maracana, against a team that has not been doing well lately. People in Brazil are very demanding of their team so it will be a test for us.
“Matches against Brazil are always classics. We have to stand up and respect what they are because they are still Brazil.”