Argentina skipper Lionel Messi is challenged by Colombian defender
Argentina skipper Lionel Messi is challenged by Colombian defender
AFP

Rio de Janeiro: In an open and exciting game, Argentina qualified for the final of the Conmebol Copa América 2021 with a 3-2 win on penalties following a 1-1 draw at the end of normal time.

Lautaro Martínez and Luis Díaz scored the goals during the 90 minutes while goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez was the star of the shootout with three saves to line up an Argentina vs Brazil final next saturday.

Lionel Scaloni’s side began the game on front foot and created their first chance with just 3 minutes on the clock. Lionel Messi set up Lautaro Martinez with a cross but the Inter man sent his effort narrowly wide.

A few minutes later, Messi was once again the creator as he turned Yerry Mina in the box and pulled a pass back to Martínez. This time Lautaro made no mistake to give Argentina an early lead, rewarding their proactive play.

Colombia, who had made a nervy start, were awoken by the goal and started to have an impact on the game. Juan Cuadrado arrived at the edge of the box to fire a low shot which Emiliano Martínez saved well.

First Wilmar Barrios hit a powerful shot from range which deflected off the leg of Giovani Lo Celso and hit the post with Martinez helpless. Mina won the header from the resulting corner but his attempt also the wordwork, pinging off the top of the bar.

Rueda made three changes for the second half with Edwin Cardona and Yimmi Chará brought on to add invention to the attack and Frank Fabra to bring fresh attacking width from fullback. Miguel Borja was also introduced up front around the hour mark.

Edwin Cardona sent an excellent through ball for the pacey, impressive Luis Diaz to cut inside Pezzella and finish from a tight angle.

Jesus out of Copa

Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus is out of the Copa America final because of a red card he received during his team's 1-0 quarterfinal win over Chile. South American soccer body Conmebol said in a statement on Tuesday it suspended Jesus for two matches. The striker didn't play on Monday in Brazil's 1-0 semifinal victory against Peru, being replaced by winger Everton. Jesus was sent off shortly before the second half of Brazil's victory against Chile after he hit Eugenio Mena with a flying kick.

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