Copa America 2021: It’s Lionel Messi vs Neymar in final as Argentina beat Colombia in semis shootout

Argentina will face Brazil in the Copa America final after they beat Colombia 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday following a 1-1 draw in their semi-final in Brasilia. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved from Colombia’s Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona while Lionel Messi, Leandro Paredes and Lautaro Martinez all scored from the spot to put Argentina through to the title decider.

Argentina had taken the lead after six minutes through Martinez but Luis Diaz equalised for Colombia after the hour. Argentina will face hosts Brazil in Saturday’s final at the Maracana after the reigning champions beat Peru 1-0 in Monday’s first semi-final.

For Argentina, Sunday’s title clash against bitter rivals Brazil will be the 29th final. They last won the continental title in 1993, and lost the finals in 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2016. They had also finished third last term, after losing to Brazil in the semis.

During this period, on the global stage, Argentina came close to winning the World Cup in Brazil. But a Mario Gotze extra time goal ended their dreams in 2014 final. Now, Brazil presents Albiceleste with another chance to redeem themselves.

Colombia were bidding to reach their first Copa America final after failing in their six previous semifinals in a neutral venue. They only reached the final playing at least one game at home (1975 and 2001). And they looked a motivated lot.

The 14-time champions took the early lead courtesy of a fine strike from Martinez (7th minute) after Giovanni Lo Celso linked up with Lionel Messi, who set up the Inter Milan forward. It was followed by chances from either side.

Argentina came close to doubling their lead when Nicolas Gonzalez picked up a header from Lionel Messi’s corner-kick. But he was denied by David Ospina from close range.

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