Lionel Messi Misses His Penalty as Emiliano Martinez Saved Argentina From Copa America 2024 Quarterfinal Exit Vs Ecuador [Video]

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Lionel Messi missed his spot-kick as Emiliano Martinez’s shootout heroics saved Argentina from Copa America 2024 quarter-final exit.

A rollercoaster quarter-final clash against Ecuador at the NRG Stadium saw Argentina struggle to put down a hard-fighting Ecuadorian side. It was a game the defending champions were expected to easily glide through after brilliant run in the group stage but it turned out to be a strongly-contested clash.

Argentina Copa America 2024

Despite dominating proceedings from the start, it was still a deadlocked start for the defending champions who struggled to make their dominance count.

Ecuador maintained a deep solid backline and a great attacking flair as well. Balancing good defensive play with occasional offensives, they were able to frustrate the Argentine’s attacking play. However, they were finally conquered five minutes after half-hour. Liverpool midfielder Mac Allister had found Man United defender, Lisandro Martinez, who scored from close range to give Argentina the lead.

Ecuador began to break out from their low block for a more engaging play after going down by the lone goal. The game took on a more faster momentum going forward with scores of chances for the two sides but none could be converted before the break.

Argentina Copa America 2024

The second half nearly ended barren with Argentina closing in on a slim victory to book a place in the last four of the tournament. Towards the final minutes, Ecuador pressed harder for a late equaliser. It was a dramatic end to proceedings after regulation time. The Albiceleste were close to snatching victory but were dealt a heavy blow in the 90+2nd minute when Rodriguez scored a last-gasp goal to peck them to a dramatic 1-1 draw.

Lionel Messi misses his spot-kick

Rodriguez’s late strike forced the game into shootouts. Lionel Messi was Argentina’s first penalty-taker. He blasted it over the crossbar.

Ecuador had a chance to get in front after Messi’s miss, but Mena’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Emiliano Martinez. Manchester City forward, Julian Alvarez, scored Argentina’s second spot-kick. Martinez saved Ecuador’s second spot-kick again by Minda to hand Argentina the lead.

The rest of the penalty-takers converted their spot-kicks with Argentina winning 4-2 to progress to the semi-finals.

How Emiliano Martinez saves Argentina for the second time in a major international tournament

It is the second time Emiliano Martinez has been the saviour for Argentina in a major international tournament. The Aston Villa shotstopper earned widespread acclaim during the 2022 World Cup, helping Argentina beat France in the shootouts to win the trophy with a crucial penalty save.

Ecuador would have comfortably won the shootouts at the NRG stadium when Lionel Messi missed the spot-kick. Martinez made the two crucial saves to get the team back in front and subsequently win the shootouts.

What is next for Argentina?

The Argentines went into the game as favourites but it turned out to be a tightly-contested clash that was decided in the shootouts. Following the shootout victory, the 2022 World Cup champions will face the winner of the quarter-final clash between Venezuela and Canada.

With a semi-final clash set against either Venezuela or Canada, the Albiceleste are already favourites to reach the final and possibly defend the trophy.

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