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Emiliano Martínez Rescues Argentina Following Lionel Messi’s Penalty Miss in Copa América Shootout

On Thursday night, Argentina seemed in control for most of the 90 minutes. At the 2024 Copa América, they hadn’t conceded a goal in over 360 minutes until Ecuador shocked them, equalizing in second-half stoppage time, sending the match into a tense penalty shootout after Lionel Messi’s miss.

Despite leading 1-0 for much of the match, Argentina struggled to dominate. The game headed to penalties where Messi’s chipped shot hit the crossbar, leaving fans stunned. However, Emiliano Martínez, renowned for his penalty-saving prowess since the 2022 World Cup final, became the hero once again with a crucial save on Ecuador’s first attempt.

Martínez’s spectacular diving save, followed by another monumental block, revived Argentina’s spirits. With Alexis Mac Allister and Gonzalo Montiel scoring, and Nicolás Otamendi sealing the win, Argentina clinched a 3-1 shootout victory.

Though Argentina seemed destined for the semifinals, their performance was lackluster, saved multiple times by Martínez’s acrobatic saves. Despite Messi’s injury recovery, the Argentine attack struggled, allowing Ecuador to nearly secure victory in regular time.

The match bypassed extra time, proceeding directly to penalties, where Martínez’s towering presence proved decisive. Known as “Dibu,” Martínez’s agility and instincts thwarted Ecuador’s hopes and salvaged Argentina’s campaign from the brink of elimination.

After Otamendi’s decisive penalty, Messi celebrated, and Argentine fans rejoiced once more, relieved to advance to the semifinals.

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