Messi leads Argentina to Copa America semi-finals
Messi led his country to the Copa America semi-finals by scoring a free kick and assisting two more goals, as Argentina beat Ecuado 3-0 on Saturday, and set up a date with Colombia in the semi-finals. Messi missed a golden opportunity in the first half, but made the first goal scored by Rodrigo de Paul five minutes before the break, and then did the same with Lautaro Martinez with five minutes remaining. After that, the Barcelona captain scored for the second time in the tournament with a free kick in stoppage time to confirm the victory of the Argentine team, despite the modest performance. Messi scored his 76th goal with Argentina, becoming one goal away from Pele’s record in South America. “I have always said that individual awards are secondary, we are here for something else. We have a goal and we are totally focused on it,” said the Argentine soccer legend. “It was a difficult match, and we knew how difficult this opponent was. The most important thing is that we took another step forward.” The Argentine national team had not lost in 17 matches before Saturday’s meeting, and it was supposed to confirm its victory earlier than it did. With this result, Argentina will meet Colombia, who beat Uruguay on penalties earlier on Saturday, in the semi-finals on Tuesday. Hosts Brazil play Peru in the first semi-final match on Monday.