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Copa América: Despite Messi’s penalty mistake: Argentina in Copa semi-finals

Copa América: Despite Messi’s penalty mistake: Argentina in Copa semi-finals
Copa América: Despite Messi’s penalty mistake: Argentina in Copa semi-finals

The defending champions take the lead, Ecuador equalizes late. Then Messi misses a bad shot – but he can still celebrate. The match was not without consequences for Ecuador’s coach.

Despite a penalty miss by superstar Lionel Messi, Argentina is in the semi-finals of the Copa América. The football world champions beat Ecuador 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals in Houston; after 90 minutes the score was 1-1 (0-0).

In the dramatic shootout from the penalty spot, Messi was the first to put the ball on the crossbar with a cheeky lob. However, the 37-year-old was able to celebrate with his team because goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved two shots.

“I was pretty disappointed, but at the same time confident,” Messi said of the moments after his missed shot. The multiple World Footballer had complete faith in goalkeeper Martinez.

“He really blossoms in such moments and enjoys it,” said Messi. Similar to the World Cup final against France, the goalkeeper once again showed provocative gestures and celebrated his second save with a provocative swing of his hips.

Cheers despite late shock

Lisandro Martínez of Manchester United scored with a header for the Albiceleste of national coach Lionel Scaloni in the 35th minute. Ecuador’s Enner Valencia hit the post with a handball penalty in the 61st minute. It was not until the first minute of stoppage time that Kevin Rodríguez equalized.

In the Copa América quarter-finals and semi-finals, a draw after 90 minutes is not followed by extra time but immediately by a penalty shootout.

The reigning South American and world champions Argentina had a perfect group phase without losing a point or conceding a goal. Messi missed the last group match against Peru due to a leg injury. With 15 titles, Argentina is the record champion of the Copa América.

Consequences for Ecuador coach

Ecuador, meanwhile, continued its losing streak at the Copa América: The Tricolor has not beaten a South American team at the tournament for 23 years. The team’s only victories since 2001 have been against visiting teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

For national coach Felix Sanchez, the defeat against the Argentinians had immediate consequences: The Spaniard was thrown out by the FEF, although he actually still had a contract until the end of July 2026.

In the other quarter-finals, Venezuela and Canada will face each other on Friday (local time), Colombia and Panama on Saturday (local time) and later Brazil and Uruguay.

Source: Stern

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