Lionel Messi put together one of his most memorable performances for Argentina in quite a while Saturday, recording two assists and getting a stunning goal of his own to beat Ecuador 3-0 in the Copa America quarterfinals. The win sees Argentina advance to the last four, where they’ll face Colombia on Tuesday.
While the scoreline was one-sided, the game really wasn’t for a majority of the 90 minutes. Argentina led for the last hour, but Ecuador had their chances, Enner Valencia especially. In the end, the wasteful underdogs just couldn’t beat Emiliano Martinez despite making the Argentine defense look foolish at times.
Messi now has four goals and four assists in the cup and has his team on the brink of yet another appearance in the Copa final.
The winning goal came from midfielder Rodrigo de Paul in the 40th minute with a tidy finish in the box on an open goal, but just look at the assist Messi provided to set him up.
Then a mistake in defense from Ecuador gifted Argentina their second, with Messi swiftly finding the feet of Lautaro Martinez for the 2-0 lead with six minutes to go.
And he wasn’t done there. Angel Di Maria went on the counter and won a free kick that also resulted in a red card for Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie, and Messi made no mistake, going goalkeeper side for an unbelievable finish.
With the win, Argentina now get a rematch against Los Cafeteros after recently blowing a 2-0 lead against them in World Cup qualifying, settling for a 2-2 draw. Colombia are without star James Rodriguez who missed the tournament, with Reinaldo Rueda’s team defeating Uruguay in penalty kicks earlier on Saturday.
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