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Argentina survives penalty scare, advances to Copa América semifinals

by sekhar
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Argentina needed a penalty shootout to overcome a determined Ecuador side and book their place in the Copa América semifinals. The match, played in Houston, Texas, finished 1-1 after regulation time before Argentina emerged victorious 4-2 on penalties.

Early Lead, Dramatic Equalizer

Argentina took the lead midway through the first half thanks to a headed goal from Manchester United defender Lisandro Martínez. The advantage held for most of the match, but Ecuador snatched a dramatic equalizer in stoppage time. Kevin Rodríguez rose highest to nod home a cross from John Yeboah, sending the game to penalties.

Messi Misses, But Argentina Wins

The drama continued in the shootout. Lionel Messi, attempting a trademark Panenka penalty, saw his effort saved by the crossbar. However, Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martínez emerged as the hero. He saved two of Ecuador’s next three penalties, ensuring victory despite Messi’s miss.

Martínez the Penalty Hero

Martínez, known for his prowess in penalty shootouts, celebrated his saves with his trademark dance. According to BBC reports, the Aston Villa goalkeeper has a remarkable record, saving 9 out of 24 penalties faced for Argentina.

Quotes and Looking Ahead

“I work to do this,” Martínez said after the match. “We always have to give our best, the people deserve it.” Argentina will now face the winner of the Venezuela vs. Canada quarterfinal match in the semifinals. Despite a challenging encounter, Argentina will be relieved to progress in the competition.

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