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Copa America: Lionel Messi Stars Argentina To The Semi-Finals

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Argentina forward Lionel Messi was on target yesterday night scoring one goal through a freekick and providing two assists to beat Ecuador 3-0 despite missing an open goal that saw his shot hit the goal post.

The 34-year-old who recently went out of contract with Barcelona was involved in all three goals for his side to court praise and admiration from his teammates.

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Argentina were unbeaten in 17 games coming into the game and were looking to make it 18. Underdogs Ecuador came into the match without a win in its last six games.

Five minutes before halftime, Lionel Messi played a central role, setting up his fellow Rodrigo De Paul a nice pass leaving goalkeeper Galindez stranded after making a tackle outside the box. De Paul fired the ball into the net for his first international goal in 25 appearances.

In the second half Argentina still possessed the ball, defending very well and ofcourse creating more chances in what looked to be their plan to continue extending their lead against a tough Ecuador side.

Lionel Messi setup Lautaro Martinez to extend the lead for the Argentina in the 84th minute, after bad defending by Ecuador.

Angel Di Maria took the ball off an Ecuadorian defender and found Messi who slid the ball into the path of Martinez. The striker calmly placed the ball into the net, making the score-line 2-0.

In the injury time Ecuador’s Piero Hincapie found himself being sent off after fouling Angel Di Maria, earning Argentina an advantage of free kick take on.

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Photo/Courtesy

Messi stepped up and beautifully curled the ball into the net in stoppage time to make it 3-0.

The match finished 3-0 to Argentina, setting up a mouth-watering clash against Colombia who overcame Uruguay on penalties.

Messi’s free-kick goal was his 76th goal for Argentina, taking him to one goal shy of  Pele’s South American record.

Speaking after the game Messi said; “I’ve always said that individual prizes are secondary, we’re here for something else, We have an objective and we’re focused on that.”

“It was a hard match, we know how difficult an opponent they can be. The important thing is we’ve taken another step forward.”

The win saw Argentina set up a mouthwatering semi-final meeting with Colombia, with Brazil who are also through to the last four set to face Peru.

Copa America results

Brazil 1-0 Chile

Uruguay 0-0 Colombia (2-4 on Penalties)

Argentina 3-0 Ecuador

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