Argentina 1-1 Ecuador (July 4, 2024) Match Analysis

Argentina defeated Ecuador 4-2 on penalties to advance to the Copa América semi-finals on Thursday, with goalkeeper Emi Martinez saving two shots in the shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

The match went to penalties after Lisandro Martínez’s opening goal for Argentina was cancelled out by Kevin Rodríguez in injury time. There is no extra time in Copa América knockout matches, except the final.

In the shoot-out, Lionel Messi hit the crossbar with Argentina’s first attempt, but Martinez saved a shot from Ángel Mena and Alan Minda, sending the reigning champions to a semi-final against either Venezuela or Canada.

Messi started the match despite an injury risk after missing the final group match against Peru with a hamstring injury, with the Argentina captain breaking the record for most minutes played in the tournament’s history.

Argentina had the upper hand early on but it was Ecuador who created the first chance when Jeremy Sarmiento found space to fire a shot from a difficult angle, forcing Martinez into a save.

Emiliano Martinez.
Emiliano Martinez.

But when the Argentine fans made their voices heard, the team took the lead in the 35th minute when Alexis Mac Allister’s header found the ball at the far post and the defender headed in his first international goal.

In the second half Ecuador put on the pressure and that earned them a corner after an hour of play. The cross landed on the hand of Rodrigo De Paul, after which the referee immediately pointed to the spot.

Captain Enner Valencia stepped up and sent Martinez the wrong way, but Ecuador’s top scorer saw his shot hit the post, with Argentine defender Cristian Romero blocking a rebound.

Martinez turned to the crowd and roared with joy, his arms raised. This blunder took the wind out of Ecuador’s sails.

But Ecuador, who have never beaten Argentina in the Copa América, equalised in injury time when John Yeboah crossed and Rodriguez was caught offside in the 91st minute to head the ball past Martinez.

However, the Argentine goalkeeper had the final say, saving two crucial goals in the penalty shootout, before Nicolás Otamendi scored the decisive kick to secure a place in the semi-finals.

Leave a Comment