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Lionel Messi MISSES ‘panenka’ penalty in Copa America shootout

Aston Villa’s Emi Martinez emerged as the hero for Argentina, securing their place in the Copa America semi-finals with a thrilling 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Ecuador.

The match ended 1-1 in regular time, leading straight to penalties where Argentina faced a rough start as captain Lionel Messi‘s chipped ‘panenka’ attempt struck the top of the crossbar.

Ecuador couldn’t capitalize on this, with Martinez saving their first two penalties from Angel Mena and Alan Minda.

Argentina’s Julian Alvarez of Manchester City and Liverpool’s Alexis Mac Allister both scored their penalties. Former Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi then sealed the win after John Yeboah kept Ecuador’s hopes alive with his successful kick.

The underdogs had pushed the game to penalties thanks to Kevin Rodriguez’s injury-time header, which equalized after Martinez’s earlier save.

Lisandro Martinez of Manchester United had given Argentina the lead in the first half with a close-range header from a corner.

Despite not being at their best, Argentina could have faced a different outcome if Ecuador captain Enner Valencia had not hit the post from the penalty spot in the 60th minute after Rodrigo De Paul’s handball.

Martinez, who taunted Ecuador fans following his saves in the shootout, celebrated passionately with the largely Argentine crowd in Houston after Valencia’s miss.

You can see Lionel Messi’s penalty miss below:

The former Arsenal goalkeeper has faced 24 penalties for Argentina, saving nine, with three off-target misses, conceding only 12.

The World Cup holders and 15-time Copa America champions will now meet either Canada or Venezuela in the semi-finals.