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Emi Martinez saves Lionel Messi: Watch how Argentina beat Ecuador on penalties in COPA America



Emi Martinez saved two penalties to spare Lionel Messi’s blushes as Argentina advanced to the Copa America semifinal

Argentina are yet to hit their best in Copa America. La Albiceleste have been loose at times, a shadow of their World Cup-winning selves. But Thursday evening, another lacklustre performance proved to be enough, as the reigning champions beat Ecuador on penalties 4-2 after a 1-1 draw on regulation to secure a semifinal spot.

Lionel Messi struggled through the contest, failing to make a mark – and missing a spot-kick, again. Still, those around him were decisive, with Emi Martinez saving two efforts to send Argentina through.

La Albicelste found the breakthrough after 35 minutes, with Lisandro Martinez nodding home at the far post off a well-worked corner routine. Enzo Fernandez could have made it two before halftime but dragged an effort narrowly wide.

They seemed sure to have won it in normal time, but Kevin Rodriguez’s glancing header in second-half stoppage-time sent the contest to penalties.

Messi missed Argentina’s first, but Martinez stood firm – and the rest of La Albiceleste converted to secure a fifth-straight semifinal spot.

Watch the match highlights below

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