Monday, November 29, 2021

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Argentina 3-0 Ecuador: Magnificent Messi leads Albiceleste into Copa America semifinal

Lionel Messi was at his destructive best as he led Argentina to a convincing 3-0 rout of Ecuador in the Copa America semifinal early Sunday.

The talismanic no 10 created two goals and scored a third as Argentina advance to the last four, where they’ll face Colombia on Tuesday.

Messi’s intervention was a welcome relief for a shaky Argentina whose defensive wobbles almost cost them again but for the solid Emiliano Martinez in goal.

Udinese midfielder Rodrigo de Paul opened the scoring in the 40th minute with a tidy finish in the box after a delightful assist from Messi.

Then a mistake in defense from Ecuador gifted Argentina their second, with Messi swiftly finding the feet of strike partner Lautaro Martinez for the 2-0 lead with six minutes to go.

Angel Di Maria went on the counter and won a free kick that also resulted in a red card for Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie, and Messi made no mistake, curling in a sumptuous effort to take his tally to four goals and four assists in the competition so far.

With the win, Argentina now get a rematch against Los Cafeteros after recently blowing a 2-0 lead against them in World Cup qualifying to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Reinaldo Reuda’s Colombia reached the semifinal after defeating Uruguay 4-2 on penalty kicks earlier on Saturday.

Meanwhile, hosts Brazil face Peru in the first semifinal on Monday.

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