Copa America: Argentina beat Colombia on penalties to reach the final

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Emiliano Martínez became the hero of the shootout, saving three penalties and the game ended 1-1 after extra time.

Argentina quickly took the lead when Lionel Messi, trying to win his first major international competition, allowed Lautaro Martínez to score from inside Colombia’s area.

But Colombia equalized just after the hour mark when Luis Díaz recovered a quickly fired free kick and passed Martínez.

This was after both teams had chances in the first half – Wilmar Barrios hit the post for Colombia and Yerry Mina hit the bar for a corner, while Nicolás González was also pushed back by David Ospina ON the other side.

Martínez and Messi kiss after Argentina's victory.
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Argentina had a golden chance to grab a winner midway through the second half when whenngel Di María rounded Ospina to set up Martínez, but the striker’s shot was blocked by Barrios.

In the shootout, Juan Cuadrado and Messi both scored the first penalties before Davinson Sánchez saw his effort saved by Martínez and Rodrigo De Paul threw his over the bar.

READ: ‘I want Argentina,’ says Neymar as Brazil advance to 2021 Copa America final

Martínez, who insisted on talking to the Colombian players as they prepared to take their shots on goal, then saved Mina’s penalty.

Leandro Paredes scored his for Argentina and Miguel Borja responded by blowing it up in the middle of the goal.

Argentinian players celebrate after the penalty shoot-out.

Goal scorer Martínez scored Argentina’s third goal on the spot, before goalkeeper Martínez made his third save from the shootout to prevent Edwin Cardona and give his side the victory.

“The truth is, I don’t have the words,” Martínez said.

“We’ve been locked up for 40 days, we were the only national team not seeing anyone, we were really in our bubble alone, with the coaches, staff, cleaners, cooks and managers.

“It’s the work of a group of 70 people who came for a dream and we said it from day one: we want to play the final. And what better way than to play Brazil on their field.”

Argentina will now face Brazil at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro this weekend in a bid to win their first Copa America title since 1993, while Brazil – who beat Peru in the semi-finals earlier this week. – is aiming for his sixth title since 1997.

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