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Football news – Emi Maritnez the hero as Argentina and Lionel Messi set up Copa America final showdown with Brazil


Emiliano Martinez saved three penalties to send Argentina through to the Copa America final.

The Aston Villa stopper was immense in the shoot-out following a 1-1 draw between Colombia and Argentina.

Martinez tried to get under the skin of the spot-kickers, taunting them as they approached and would make saves from Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona.

Lionel Messi, Leandro Paredes and Lautaro Martinez scored for Argentina, who will take on old rivals Brazil in the final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium on Saturday.

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Both sides wasted chances to win the game in normal time in a match that was end to end at times and produced ten yellow cards and 46 fouls.

Clashes between Argentina and Colombia have always been fiery affairs and Tuesday night’s semi-final was no exception.

Argentina’s talisman Messi set up their goal, collecting a peach of a pass from Giovani Lo Celso before slotting the ball to Martinez to put his side in front after just even minutes.

Colombia tried to hit back quickly, hitting the woodwork twice in a minute as the first half drew to a close.

Argentina’s players celebrate at the end of the Conmebol 2021 Copa America football tournament semi-final match against Colombia

Image credit: Getty Images

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Wilmar Barrios’ deflected effort hit the post before Mina’s header struck the bar from the resulting corner.

Colombia continued to push, however, and got their rewards in the 61st minute when Luis Diaz found the net from a tight angle.

Argentina take on Brazil looking to win their first major silverware since lifting the Copa America in 1993, with Messi desperate to finally add an international trophy to his collection.

Messi may have starred for Argentina up the pitch, but the playmaker was full of praise for Martinez.

“It was difficult at times,” Messi said. “But we have Emi and he’s phenomenal. We trusted him.”

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Martinez has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence in the last year after his switch to Aston Villa from Arsenal and the 28-year-old is now a hero for Argentina.

“I’m speechless,” Martinez said after his penalty saves.

“They took us to penalties and that’s a question of luck, today it was my turn for glory.”



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