Emiliano Martinez

Argentina make it into the Copa America semifinal owing to Emi Martinez’s top performance

Argentina, along with the mighty Lionel Messi, should thank Emiliano Martinez for his marvelous performance at the NRG Stadium against Ecuador. Without Martinez, the world champions would not be in the Copa America semifinal as the Aston Villa goalkeeper produced saves after saves throughout the game. 

During normal time, when Argentina were leading 1-0, Martinez denied Ecuador’s opportunity to equalise after Enner Valencia failed to convert it from the spot. He may have conceded in the dying minutes, making Ecuador push for an equaliser through Kevin Rodriguez. 

Messi’s life flashed before his eyes

However, Martinez paid everything off in the shootouts, blocking Ecuador’s first two executions from Angel Mena and Alan Minda. The saves were crucial because Messi, who was an opener, failed to make it into the goal net. 

After Messi missed, all four of Argentina’s kickers found the back of the net. Julian Alvarez, Alexis Mac Allister, Gonzalo Montiel, and Nicolas Otamanedi converted it. Makin John Yeboah and Jordy Caicedo’s executions do not matter. 

It is not the first time Martinez saved his country by denying penalties. Back in 2021, he saved the shots against Colombia in the shootouts and the year after, saving two Netherlands penalties to send Argentina to the World Cup semifinal. In the final, he made another penalty save, preventing France from winning the cup consecutively. 

Argentina made it into the semifinal and will face the winner between Venezuela and Canada. If nothing stands in the way, Albiceleste will either face Brazil or Uruguay in the final as both countries will see each other in another quarter-final tie.

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