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Monterrey files complaint against Messi, Inter Miami after post-game dispute with coach Ortiz

Mexican club Monterrey filed a formal complaint with Concacaf against Inter Miami on Thursday regarding a post-game heated verbal exchange between Lionel Messi and Monterrey coach Fernando “Tano” Ortiz in a Chase Stadium hallway after Inter Miami’s 2-1 loss in the Champions Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday night.

The complaint also mentions Inter Miami players Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba, who supported Messi in the dispute, according to Mexican media reports and reports by tournament rightsholders TUDN and Fox Sports journalist Fernando Schwartz. Messi did not play in the game due to a hamstring injury, but watched from a suite.

Monterrey is seeking sanctions against the team and the players involved and would like a resolution before the second leg of the two-game series April 10 in Monterrey.

The clash was apparently fueled by an Ortiz interview in the days leading to Wednesday’s match suggesting that the officiating might be biased in favor of Inter Miami because Messi is on the team and he drives business.

“Everything that surrounds Messi can lead to sporting and non-sporting decisions”, the Monterrey coach said.

Asked if he thought his club would be at a disadvantage, he said: “Obviously, I don’t know if it would harm us, but we all know sports is business and the business is not about us. In terms of things on the field we are going to do what we must do to win. Afterwards, I can’t handle other things.”

As it turned out, Inter Miami had a player ejected with a red card and had six players issued yellow cards while Monterrey had three players get yellow cards.

According to TUDN and the Fox Sports report, Messi, Suarez, Alba and Inter Miami coach Tata Martino approached referee Walter Lopez after the game to question some calls, particularly the second yellow card and expulsion of Miami midfielder David Ruiz. Both Monterrey goals were scored with Miami down a man.

After protesting to the referee, Messi, Suarez and Alba found themselves in close quarters with Ortiz, and an argument erupted.

Neither team has released any statement about the incident.

Inter Miami and Monterrey meet again next Wednesday, April 10 at 10:30 p.m. in what will surely be a spicy decisive leg at Estadio BBVA in Monterrey, México.