Superstar striker Lionel Messi’s 76th international goal helped Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Copa America football tournament, where they will face Colombia.
Messi scored the third goal for Argentina in the match played on Saturday and also helped in scoring both the earlier goals. With this win, Lionel Messi has also kept alive the hopes of winning his first major international tournament. Argentina will take on Colombia in the semi-finals on Tuesday, who beat Uruguay in another match in a penalty shootout. The second semi-final will be played between Brazil and Peru.
In the match played at the Olympic Stadium in Goiania, Messi had a chance to give the team the lead in the 23rd minute, but he missed it. He manages to chase Hernán Galindez outside the box, but could not get the ball to the goal post. However, Rodrigo de Paul scored the first goal in the 39th minute to give Argentina a 1–0 lead in the match. Argentina’s Lautaro Mítnez scored the second goal of the match in the 84th minute. Messi, playing his first match after his contract with Spanish club Barcelona expired, helped score both of these goals.
Messi scored Argentina’s third goal on a free kick in injury time (90+3rd minute) of the match. Messi kicked the ball with the left foot from the box and the ball went straight into the net to the left of the goal post. This is also his fourth goal in the tournament. Argentina’s margin of victory would have been even better, but they missed several scoring opportunities which the team would like to improve before the crucial game ahead.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi said, “The semi-final match was one of our goals in the tournament. We just have to rest and think about the match against Colombia. They have a good defense and they also counterattack.”