Argentina has advanced to the semifinals of the Copa America 2024 after defeating Ecuador on penalties in the quarterfinals of the South American soccer championship. With the win, Argentina is one step closer to defending its Copa America title.

Argentina defeated Ecuador 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Friday (June 5). This was Argentina’s fifth consecutive Copa America quarterfinal appearance, dating back to the 2015 tournament.

Argentina finished first in the group stage with three wins against Canada, Chile, and Peru, scoring five goals and conceding none. However, they struggled a bit in this match, conceding their first goal of the tournament.

Lionel Messi returned from injury to start up front, but Argentina struggled with the Ecuadorian offense in the early stages of the match. However, in the 35th minute, Messi’s corner kick was headed back by Alexis Sanchez and finished by Lisandro Martinez to give Argentina the lead.

Ecuador had a chance to equalize in the 15th minute of the second half when Argentina was awarded a penalty kick for a handball by Rodrigo DePaul, but kicker Enner Valencia’s shot hit the post and deflected wide. But in second-half stoppage time, substitute Kevin Rodriguez headed home a John Yeboah 먹튀사이트 cross to equalize and send the game to penalties.

In the penalty shootout, Messi stepped up to take the first kick, but the momentum seemed to shift in Ecuador’s favor when his shot hit the crossbar and deflected away. However, Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved the first two Ecuadorian kickers, Angel Menah and Alan Minda, in quick succession to seal the match.

Martinez also won the Golden Glove, which is awarded to the best goalkeeper, for his outstanding saves in the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar. His performance in this match was also a big part of Argentina’s dramatic victory.

Argentina will now face the winner of the Venezuela-Canada match on Tuesday for a spot in the final. Soccer fans around the world will be watching closely as Argentina looks to win their second consecutive Copa America title and sole possession of first place in the tournament’s history.

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