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Canadian player racially abused online in wake of 2-0 Copa America loss to Argentina

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ATLANTA -

Canada's impressive performance in a 2-0 loss to top-ranked Argentina at Copa America has come at a cost.

Canada Soccer says one of its players was a victim of online racial abuse following Thursday's tournament curtain-raiser at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Canada Soccer is aware and deeply disturbed by racist comments made online and directed at one of our men’s national team players following tonight’s match,” the governing body said in a social media post. "We are in communication with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL about this matter.”

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CONCACAF is the confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean. CONMEBOL is the South American confederation.

Canada Soccer did not identify the player in question but defender Moise Bombito's Instagram account drew abusive comments after tangling with Argentine captain Lionel Messi.

Bombito caught Messi, attempting a tackle in the 82nd minute after his pass was intercepted by Lautaro Martinez. The ball went off the Argentine substitute to Messi, who rode Bombito's attempted tackle, before bouncing back to Martinez.

Messi, clearly in pain, went down in the penalty box after Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau saved the ensuing shot from Martinez. 

Replays showed sliding Bombito getting a foot to the ball and then making contact with Messi's right ankle in the follow-through. There was no foul called on the play.

Messi walked off the field gingerly after receiving treatment but returned to action and set up Argentina's second goal in the 88th minute.

Bombito, a 24-year-old from Montreal who plays for the Colorado Rapids, reacted to the abuse with an Instagram post saying: "My beautiful Canada. No room for that BS."

He was making his seventh career appearance for Canada.

The 48th-ranked Canadians did not look out of place against the top-ranked Argentines. Canada had its share of quality scoring chances but could not convert.

The Canadians now head to Kansas City to play on No. 31 Peru on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2024

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