Lionel Messi scored one purpose and created two others as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 in Goiania on Saturday to achieve the Copa America semi-finals.
In Tuesday’s final 4 match, the 14-time winners will play Colombia, who beat Uruguay on penalties earlier within the day.
Messi teed up objectives for Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez earlier than firing house an damage time free-kick to cap a shocking particular person efficiency.
The scoreline was harsh on Ecuador, who ended the sport with 10 males after Pedro Hicapie’s dismissal however had been aggressive all through.
“The truth is it was a very tough match. We knew the difficulty of playing Ecuador, who work hard with players who are fast, physically strong, young,” stated Messi.
“It was a battle until we managed the (second) goal.”
Argentina made a vibrant begin and Martinez nearly opened the scoring with a second of brilliance. He chipped the ball over goalkeeper Hernan Galindez after which volleyed goalwards, just for Robert Arboldea to dam the ball on the road.
Moments later Martinez had a shot deflected vast and from the ensuing nook, German Pezzella volleyed into the facet netting.
Carlos Gruezo nearly gifted Argentina a purpose when his tried again cross despatched Messi clear by with solely Galindez to beat, however the six-time Ballon d’Or winner noticed his shot cannon again off the submit.
Up the opposite finish, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez needed to be alert to parry a shocking 20-yard volley by Sebastian Mendez.
Argentina had their very own let off seven minutes from half-time when Pervis Estupinan crossed from the left and Enner Valencia’s flicked header narrowly evaded the sliding Alan Franco on the again submit.
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Messi takes management
Two minutes later Argentina had been in entrance, with Messi the architect.
First he performed in Nicolas Gonzalez on purpose however when he was tackled by Galindez, Messi reacted quickest and teed up De Paul to attain.
There was nonetheless time earlier than the break for Galindez to make an unbelievable double save from Gonzalez, earlier than Valencia in some way headed vast from six yards out.
After the break, Valencia remained Ecuador’s most definitely route again into the match and the livewire ahead’s close to submit shot hit Martinez’s leg earlier than going behind.
A depraved Estupinan cross was then nearly changed into his personal web by Gonzalez.
Messi got here near killing off the tie however his curled effort sailed simply previous the submit, whereas Aston Villa goalkeeper Martinez denied substitute Gonzalo Plata an equaliser with a near-post block.
Inter Milan ahead Martinez lastly ended Ecuador’s resistence six minutes from time from Messi’s cross after Hincapie was caught in possession by Angel Di Maria.
And Hincapie accomplished a depressing couple of minutes as he was dismissed in damage time after dragging again substitute Di Maria when clear by, with Messi despatching the free-kick.
Goalkeeper David Ospina was the hero as Colombia beat Uruguay on penalties in Brasilia.
Ospina saved two spot-kicks within the shoot-out on the day he earned his 112th Colombian cap, transferring away from the earlier nationwide document he shared with the long-lasting Carlos Valderrama.
He devoted the victory to his civil strife-torn nation that will have been one of many twin hosts alongside Argentina earlier than South American soccer’s governing physique CONMEBOL moved the event to Brazil over coronavirus pandemic issues and social unrest in Colombia.
“We just want to give joy to our country, a country we want to be full of peace, full of people sharing and enjoying, because we have a beautiful country,” stated Ospina, 32.
There was little to report in a colorless 0-0 draw over the regulation 90 minutes earlier than the quarter-final tie went straight to penalties.
Ospina saved from Jose Gimenez and Matias Vina whereas Colombia scored all 4 of their penalties.
It was an enormous disappointment for Uruguay’s star ahead pair Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, who each transformed their spot-kicks however nearly actually have performed of their final Copa.
On Friday, Brazil beat Chile 1-0 to achieve Monday’s semi-final in opposition to Peru, who defeated Paraguay 4-3 on penalties after an eventful 3-3 draw that noticed either side end with 10 males.