Football: Argentina v Brazil match officials suspended for 'serious errors'

Argentina's Nicolas Otamendi (left) lifts Brazil's Raphinha from the ground after hitting him on the face while vying for the ball, on Nov 16, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

BUENOS AIRES (REUTERS) - The referee and the video assistant referee (VAR) who officiated in Tuesday's (Nov 16) World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Brazil have been suspended for "serious errors", the South American football governing body Conmebol said.

An incident in the goalless draw where Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi appeared to elbow Raphinha - which left the Brazilian winger with a bloody mouth - went unpunished and Conmebol said the use of his arm amounted to "violent conduct".

Brazil coach Tite was left fuming and he angrily hit out at what he said was an "inconceivable" decision by the VAR, saying it was "impossible" for VAR not to see Otamendi's elbow on Raphinha.

"The performance of chief referee Andres Ismael Cunha Soca Vargas and VAR Esteban Daniel Ostojich Vega... were technically analysed... concluding that they committed serious and manifest errors," Conmebol said in a statement.

It added the two officials have been suspended for "an indefinite period".

The 0-0 draw allowed Argentina to join Brazil in sealing qualification for the World Cup in Qatar next year.

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