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Friday, July 5, 2024

Participant rankings: Martínez excels on penalties in Argentina win

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HOUSTON, Texas — On America’s Independence Day, Lionel Messi and Argentina needed to set off the fireworks for his or her followers with a quarterfinal win however as soon as once more, identical to the 2022 World Cup closing, it was their goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, who took the function of hero as his two large saves helped his group beat Ecuador in a dramatic penalty shootout, securing a spot within the semifinals of the Copa América on Thursday night time.

After lacking Argentina’s closing group stage match in opposition to Perú as a consequence of a muscle damage, Messi returned to the beginning lineup and led the defending World Cup and Copa América champions to a win over their South American rivals in a bodily sport in Houston. It was not a simple match for Argentina, nevertheless, and regardless of their possession, there have been numerous moments when Ecuador actually ought to have taken extra benefit. Even within the closing moments, Ecuador can have felt they need to have delivered.

The beginning of the sport was dominated by La Tricolor as their left-hand facet pushed Argentina’s backline, consistently catching full-back Nahuel Molina off guard. In reality, on one event, it took an excellent save firstly from Martínez (from Jeremy Sarmiento) to maintain it scoreless.

Other than one good drive and cross within the first 20 minutes, Messi was additionally comparatively quiet within the first half-hour. Argentina, as standard, took somewhat time to get going however the longer the primary half developed, the extra accustomed they received to Ecuador’s midblock and even greater up, when Ecuador went man-to-man, Argentina caught on.

Enzo Fernández‘s blocked try after a counter-attacking play led to a nook and that is how the opener launched itself. Messi’s cross discovered Liverpool‘s Alexis Mac Allister within the field, who flicked it in direction of the far submit, the place he discovered an open Lisandro Martínez and the Manchester United defender was able to pounce. Argentina took the lead as they headed into the break.

The second half got here with drama as Ecuador earned a penalty after Rodrigo De Paul‘s hand within the field. It was lastly an opportunity for Félix Sánchez Bas’s males to equalize. Nonetheless, Enner Valencia‘s poor penalty ensured Argentina’s and Martínez’s continued quest for a clear sheet all through the whole marketing campaign. However that modified fairly quickly as Ecuador equalized in stoppage time due to Kevin Rodríguez, forcing a dramatic penalty shootout.

However that is the place Dibu, as soon as once more, stood for his group. Particularly after Messi missed his panenka try. The Aston Villa stopper, who has been so vital in these conditions previously — each Copa América and the World Cup — produced two enormous makes an attempt. His teammates did the remainder with their spot kicks and ultimately, Argentina got here out victorious.

There isn’t any doubt that supervisor Lionel Scaloni will most likely go away this sport with a sense of warning as a result of he knew his group allowed approach too many alternatives and weren’t imposing going ahead. In reality, Ecuador ought to have gained it in 90 minutes. Lots for Scaloni to ponder.

However alas, that is for one more day as one other closing 4 spot beckons for La Albiceleste. They are going to now face the winner of Venezuela and Canada.


Lionel Scaloni, 5 — Made adjustments somewhat too late and even after they entered the sport, he struggled to encourage his group to take care of a really bodily, quick and forward-thinking Ecuadorian midfield, particularly Moisés Caicedo, who was all over the place. Argentina gained the sport, but it surely was not a simple job and it was definitely not due to Scaloni’s selections.

PLAYER RATINGS (1-10; 10: finest. Gamers launched after 70 minutes obtain no score)

GK Emiliano Martínez, 9 — An enormous save within the 14th minute from Jeremy Sarmiento and made himself massive — mentally and bodily — after Valencia’s missed penalty. Then, one other unimaginable efficiency within the shootout with two large saves. At this level, he’s Argentina’s most vital participant. And I’m together with Messi.

DF Nahuel Molina, 6 — Not a terrific begin within the first half, being caught off his defending duties as Ecuador’s left-hand facet continued to push by the traces. However as the sport developed, he received extra concerned within the forward-thinking play, serving to Argentina’s extensive areas.

DF Cristian Romero, 6 –– A typical efficiency from Cuti, which began on a foul in opposition to Valencia, simply to indicate his presence. Total, he was okay, however not as spectacular as he normally is.

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DF Lisandro Martínez, 7 — An ideal sport, discovering his first-ever aim for Argentina due to his headed try within the first half. Got here off within the 78th minute.

DF Nicolás Tagliafico, 6 — Comparatively quiet sport, the place he was extra centered on the defensive points of his sport. Some good tackles and runs within the second half.

MF Enzo Fernández, 5– A half-decent header within the first half and one other simply earlier than the thirty fifth minute as Argentina countered, however hit the defender. However general, he struggled barely to compose himself and was outshone by his Chelsea teammate Caicedo.

MF Alexis Mac Allister, 7 — Cleaned up lots of errors from Argentina’s midfield within the first half, and it was his flick from Messi’s nook that arrange the opener from Licha Martínez. Transformed his penalty.

MF Rodrigo De Paul: 6 –– An inconsistent begin to the sport, felt the wrath of Ecuador’s midfield and it was his mistake that led to the penalty. Improved within the second however general, a so-so efficiency.

MF Nicolás Gonzalez: 7– An ideal shift from the Fiorentina attacker who would transfer everywhere in the pitch from the left-hand facet. Didn’t cease working and hustled to get each ball again.

FW Lionel Messi: 5 — One first rate run and a low-ball cross in addition to a terrific ball for Fernández within the first half after not seeing many possibilities, however did not have as a lot house for him and his teammates. His nook was the setup for the aim, nevertheless. His presence was clearly nonetheless a large affect however nonetheless in search of his first aim within the competitors. A missed panenka within the shootout. Messi additionally had 32 ball touches in opposition to Ecuador, per Opta, which had been his fewest in a aggressive 90-minute match for Argentina since 2011.

FW Lautaro Martínez, 5 — After an electrifying begin to the match, it was a quiet sport for the Internazionale man. Numerous runs that did not actually go anyplace. Changed by Julián Álvarez within the sixty fourth minute.


FW Julián Álvarez: 6 — A productive cameo, primarily there to do the working and urgent for Messi. Had a half-attempt moments after approaching. Transformed his penalty.

DF Nicolås Otamendi, N/A

MF Giovani Lo Celso, N/A

DF Gonzalo Montiel, N/A — Transformed his penalty.

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