Lionel Messi scored his 76th international goal and is now only one shy of Pele for the South American record as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 on Saturday to progress to the semifinals of Copa America.
Messi scored from a late freekick and earlier laid on two assists as Argentina eventually subdued Ecuador and kept the superstar’s dream of winning his first major international title alive.
Argentina’s rival at the Mané Garrincha Stadium on Tuesday will be Colombia, which earlier overcame Uruguay on penalties. The other semifinal will feature defending champions Brazil and Peru.
Brazil beats Chile despite second-half red card
Defending Copa America champions Brazil defended strongly with 10 men to advance to the semifinals with a 1-0 win on Friday against Chile. Substitute Lucas Paquetá scored the only goal of the match only seconds before Gabriel Jesus was sent off early in the second half.
Paquetá’s winner to the left corner of Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in the 46th minute gave Brazil fans some hope that the Selecao would ease into the next stage. But only two minutes later Jesus was sent off after hitting Chile’s Eugenio Mena with a flying kick.
Colombia edges Uruguay on penalties
Two penalty shootout saves by goalkeeper David Ospina put Colombia in the semifinals of Copa America on Saturday after a 0-0 draw with Uruguay in regular time and kept alive its hopes of a first Copa title since 2001.
The 4-2 shootout win at the Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia also broke Colombia’s bad luck in recent penalty shootouts and placed 32-year-old Ospina as the team’s player with most international caps, with 112, overtaking retired captain Carlos Valderrama.
Peru beats Paraguay
Peru beat Paraguay 4-3 on penalties Friday to advance to the Copa America semifinals in the most thrilling tournament match so far.
Regular time at the Olimpico Stadium in Goiania finished 3-3 after a hard-fought match that included red cards to key players of both teams and two goals by Italian-born Gianluca Lapadula for Peru.
The decisive moment in the quarterfinal came after Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese stopped Alberto Espinola in the shootout. Miguel Trauco converted his shot to put the runners- up of the 2019 Copa America back in contention.
Daniel Martinez and Braian Samudio had also missed for Paraguay. Santiago Ormeño and Christian Cueva were stopped by Paraguay’s Antony Silva.