Keeping Your Business in Mind

Martinez saves Argentina to Copa Semis as Messi misses Penalty

By Antynet Ford

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the hero, saving two penalties and Lionel Messi’s blushes as the holders (Argentina) defeated Ecuador in a penalty shoot-out to book their place in the Copa America semi-finals on Thursday evening.

A header by Lisandro Martinez put the world champions 1-0 up ten minutes before half-time but Kevin Rodriguez headed in a stoppage-time leveller for Ecuador, who had risen to the occasion in front of 69,456 fans at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

Messi missed the opening penalty, chipping against the bar, but thanks to heroics from Martinez, Argentina recovered to win the shoot-out 4-2 and progress into the semi-finals where they will face the winner of Friday’s match between Venezuela and Canada.

Messi’s  miss brought back memories of his miss in the shoot-out loss to Chile in the 2016 Copa final but luckily for him goalkeeper Martinez was in the mood to repeat his own past.

He pulled off superb diving saves to deny Angel Mena and Alan Minda and get his team in front before Nicolas Otamendi slotted home the decisive fourth kick.

Earlier on, Martinez saved three spot-kicks in a 3–2 penalty shootout victory for Argentina over Colombia in the semi-final of the 2021 Copa America and famously saved two in the World Cup final win against France in Qatar.

Ecuador were left crestfallen after a match in which they had created enough opportunities to have won the game.

Felix Sanchez’s team made a bright start, dominating the ball in midfield and stretching the Argentine defence at times.

Moises Caicedo had an early opportunity, latching on to a header from Enner Valencia, but his shot was tame and easily dealt with by Argentine keeper Martinez.

Then Moises Caicedo threaded a clever pass through to the impressive Jeremy Sarmiento but Martinez was out quick to save with an outstretched foot and Kendry Paez blasted the loose ball over the bar.

Argentina gradually got a foothold in the game but it was not until the 28th minute that they had their first opening when Enzo Fernandez headed wide a  Nahuel Molina cross from the right.

Seven minutes later, they had the lead however, Messi driving in a corner which Alexis Mac Allister met at the near post with a flick-on and Lisandro Martinez arrived with a powerful header that Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez was unable to keep out.

Fernandez soon had a chance to double the lead but fired a left-foot shot wide at the back post and Argentina went in at the break with a single goal lead.

Ecuador were given a lifeline in the 62nd minute when Rodrigo De Paul was ruled to have handled inside the box but Valencia’s penalty struck the outside of the post.

But in stoppage time, Ecuador stunned the 15-times Copa champions when Kevin Rodriguez glanced in a header from a John Yeboah cross.

There was a VAR review, looking at whether Jordy Caicedo had interfered in an offside position at the back post but the goal stood.

Moments later Jordy Caicedo had a great chance to win the game but he glanced a left-wing cross wide from a great, central position.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :