The Copa America which has been mostly dominated Messi’s accusation corruptions of the organisers finally came to a dramatic end as Gabriel Jesus scored one goal and assisted another before being sent off as Brazil won a first Copa America title in 12 years, beating Peru 3-1.
The Manchester City forward set up Everton to volley in the opener before scoring the decisive second as Paolo Guerrero briefly gave Peru hope when he equalised from the penalty spot minutes before Jesus struck.
But Jesus was shown a second yellow with 20 minutes left but Richarlison’s late penalty sealed the win to send the hosts into frenzied celebrations.
At the end it was clear at the end that the victory wasa huge relief for Jesus, who was in tears when he was sent off, kicking a water bottle and then pushing over the VAR monitor as he left the pitch.
“I want to apologise,” he said later. “I could have avoided it and I also need to grow up a lot.”
It is the ninth time Brazil have won the Copa America and is their first tournament success since winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics.
The victory also maintained their record of winning the Copa America every time they have hosted it.
There will have been few Brazilians celebrating as wildly at the final whistle as Jesus, who went through the rollercoaster of emotions during the match.
The striker has, at times, struggled to deliver on the international stage – he failed to score a goal in five games at the 2018 World Cup – but was the standout performer in the first half of Sunday’s final.
His cross for Brazil’s first was excellent, holding the ball up on the right before spotting an unmarked Everton at the back post, then picking out the striker with a pinpoint delivery.
Peru, who had upset the defending champions Chile in the semi-finals, were back on level terms just before the break when their all-time top scorer Guerrero converted a penalty, awarded by VAR for a handball by Thiago Silva.
But Jesus took centre stage once again, tucking a neat finish in at the near post deep into first-half stoppage time before substitute Richarlison converted a cool penalty to seal victory.