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Argentina Triumphs in Nail-Biting Penalty Shootout Against Ecuador to Reach Copa America Semi-finals

In a gripping encounter at NRG Stadium, Argentina triumphed over Ecuador 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time, securing their spot in the Copa America semi-finals. Despite Lionel Messi's surprising penalty miss, the Albiceleste managed to hold their nerve in the shootout.

Match Summary

The match opened with Argentina taking the lead through Lautaro Martínez in the 35th minute. However, Ecuador responded dramatically, with Kevin Rodríguez equalizing in the 90+1st minute, forcing the game into penalties.

Penalty Shootout Drama

The penalty shootout saw a series of successful conversions and critical misses. Argentina's Nicolás Otamendi, Gonzalo Montiel, Alexis Mac Allister, and Julián Álvarez all found the back of the net. In contrast, Ecuador's A. Minda and Á. Mena missed their spot-kicks, with Minda's miss proving particularly costly. Messi, uncharacteristically, missed his penalty but his teammates' accuracy ensured Argentina's victory.

Key Match Statistics

- Shots: Argentina (8), Ecuador (9)
- Shots on Target: Both teams (2)
- Possession: Argentina (51%), Ecuador (49%)
- Passes: Argentina (374), Ecuador (355)
- Pass Accuracy: Argentina (82%), Ecuador (81%)
- Fouls: Argentina (13), Ecuador (14)
- Corners: Argentina (2), Ecuador (5)
- Yellow Cards: Both teams (2)
- Red Cards: None

The statistics reflect a closely contested match, with both teams displaying balanced possession and defensive resilience. Ecuador managed more corners, but Argentina's slight edge in possession and pass accuracy translated into their success in the shootout.

Looking Ahead

With this victory, Argentina advances to the semi-finals, keeping their Copa America hopes alive. Despite Messi's missed penalty, his leadership and the team's collective performance underline their determination to clinch the title. As they prepare for the next round, fans will be eager to see if Argentina can maintain their momentum and ultimately lift the coveted trophy.

This quarter-final clash, marked by tense moments and high drama, is a testament to the unpredictability and excitement of Copa America, showcasing why it remains one of the most prestigious tournaments in international football.

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