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Argentina reach Copa America final with penalty shootout win over Colombia

Max Cooper
Argentina booked their place in the Copa America final
Argentina booked their place in the Copa America final / Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images
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Argentina will face Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday after beating Colombia on penalties in a dramatic semi-final.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez was the hero for his country, saving three spot-kicks to clinch a 3-2 victory in the shootout, having drawn 1-1 after extra-time.

The Albiceleste started the game brightly, and Lautaro Martinez almost gave his side the lead inside four minutes, but his header from a Lionel Messi cross flashed just wide of the far post. That combination did bear fruit on seven minutes however, when Messi cut the ball back to Martinez, and the Inter star stroked the ball into the corner of the net from 12 yards out.

Colombia went in search of an equaliser, and Yerry Mina came close, hitting the crossbar from a powerful header. And they got their reward on the hour-mark, when Luis Diaz raced onto a ball in behind the Argentina backline, and squeezed a shot into the far corner from an extremely acute angle.

Martinez should have put Argentina ahead for a second time on 73 minutes, after Angel Di Maria capitalised on a moment of madness from David Ospina, who came rushing out of his goal and failed to arrive first to the ball.

Di Maria squared for Martinez, who faced the simple task of hitting the net with only one defender on the line. But the Colombia man repelled the striker's tame shot, and Di Maria blasted the rebound high and wide.

Lionel Messi
Argentina have reached the Copa America final after beating Colombia / Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

The game eventually went to penalties, gifting goalkeeper Martinez his crowning moment. After Messi ruthlessly tucked away his spot-kick, the Villa keeper parried efforts from Davinson Sanchez, Mina and Edwin Cardona to clinch a 3-2 win in the shootout, booking their place in the Copa America final.

Argentina will face Brazil in the grand final at the Maracana, hoping to defeat the hosts and clinch the famous piece of silverware for the first time since 1993.

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