RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Lionel Messi scored his 76th worldwide aim and is now just one shy of Pele for the South American document as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 on Saturday to progress to the semifinals of the Copa America.
Messi scored from a late freekick and earlier laid on two assists as Argentina finally subdued Ecuador and saved the famous person’s dream of profitable his first main worldwide title alive.
Argentina’s rival on the Mané Garrincha Stadium on Tuesday shall be Colombia, which earlier overcame Uruguay on penalties. The opposite semifinal will function defending champions Brazil and Peru.
Rodrigo de Paul opened the scoring on the Olimpico Stadium in Goiania within the thirty ninth minute, tapping into an empty aim earlier than Lautaro Martinez added the second within the 84th with a blast from shut vary. Messi, in his first match since his contract with Barcelona expired, assisted each of them.
Within the dying moments of the match Messi scored Argentina’s third from a free kick from the sting of the field. It was his fourth aim within the event.
Closely favored Argentina wasted a number of alternatives at 1-0 to cruise to a cushty victory. Ecuador then hit the submit within the second half earlier than Martinez doubled Argentina’s lead. However Messi turned extra influential after 71 minutes when Ángel di Maria stepped in changing Giovani lo Celso.
Ecuador additionally misplaced defender Piero Hincapié to a pink card close to the top of the match after a foul on Di Maria that gave Argentina the free kick scored by Messi.
It was his 76th aim in his 149th match for Argentina, one in need of Pelé’s document as prime aim scorer of a South American nationwide workforce. It was additionally his 58th profession aim on a free kick for membership and nation, transferring one forward of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi mentioned being within the semifinals was one in all Argentina’s goals for the event.
“Now we now have to relaxation and consider Colombia. They defend effectively, they’ve fast counters,” the striker mentioned. Requested about his efficiency, he was transient: “Particular person awards are secondary.”
Martinez appears to have understood the message.
“All of us observe Messi’s management. As we speak we noticed as soon as once more how he units the distinction, we’re all following him,” he mentioned. “We noticed an Argentina as a protagonist. As we speak we made the distinction. It was a demanding match.”
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