Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina side are through to the 2021 Copa América final following a dramatic semifinal clash at an empty Estadio Nacional de Brasilia which saw La Albiceleste beat Colombia 3-2 on penalties.
The game opened in upbeat fashion as Captain Lionel Messi set up the ball neatly for Lautaro Martinez in the 7th minute, who then blasted it low into the right side of the net, away from the gloves of David Ospina.
Messi’s assist made it his ninth involvement out of Argentina’s 11 goals in the competition thus far.
Both sides tried to find a break but the game remained tied at 1-0 at halftime.
Argentina’s defensive structure soon began to lose shape as the second-half kicked off. A pass from Edwin Cardona in the 61st minute, along with an ill-timed run by Emiliano Martínez, exposed a hole in the Argentine defense and allowed Luis Diaz to score the equaliser for Colombia.
Angel Di Maria’s introduction to the game injected some life into Argentina as the left-footed PSG forward ran amok on the right flank.
One of Di Maria’s presses almost put Argentina ahead save for Lautaro Martinez’s failure to beat a net that was without its goalkeeper.
A pass from Di Maria also allowed Messi to fire a shot from a tight angle that could only hit the woodwork.
Argentina were the better side in the closing parts of the game but were unable to find a winner until the blast of the final whistle, which was immediately followed by a nervy penalty shootout where Emiliano Martínez proved to be the hero of the game, saving three penalties in total.