Rodrigo De Paul, Lautaro Martinez, and Lionel Messi scored in the quarterfinals of the Copa America 2021, helping Argentina to a 3-0 victory over Ecuador.
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni made eight changes to the team that defeated Bolivia in the last group stage match. Lionel Messi, the captain, was one of only three players to keep his place in the starting lineup.
Lautaro Martinez got the game’s first two chances, but the opposition defense stopped both of his goal-bound attempts.
Messi’s wonderful squared ball found Rodrigo De Paul unmarked in the 40th minute, breaking the deadlock. From inside six yards, the Udinese player made no mistakes.
On the stroke of halftime, Enner Valencia had a great chance to equalize for Ecuador, but his close-range header went wide.
In the 58th minute, the Fenerbache striker forced Emiliano Martinez into a superb stop, but it was the best the Ecuadorians could do in front of goal.
Argentina was able to win the victory thanks to two goals scored in the final minutes of the game. Angel di Maria took the ball away from Piero Hincapie, and Lionel Messi set up Lautaro Martinez for his second goal of the tournament.
When Hincapie was sent off for a challenge on Di Maria, his night got much worse. Initially, the referee gave a penalty and a yellow card. After consulting with the VAR, he increased the yellow card to a red and changed the call to a freekick.
Messi’s goal came from a straight free-kick on the boundary of the penalty box. His skill was highlighted by the technique required to curl the ball over the wall and dip it in time when so close to the goal.
Argentina qualified for the semifinals after he scored his fourth goal of the competition.
Leo Messi caps the day off with a trademark freekick goal and 2 assists setting up De Paul and Lautaro Martinez. @Argentina are through to the semi finals of @CopaAmrica with 3-0 win over Ecuador. pic.twitter.com/dmV8Wrlvnp— Argentina Football Media (Eng) 🇦🇷 (@ARG_soccernews) July 4, 2021
6.5/10 for Giovani Lo Celso
Giovani Lo Celso delivered yet another electrifying performance. Before leaving in the 70th minute, he helped Argentina maintain control of the game.
6.5/10 for Leandro Paredes
The PSG player controlled the speed of the game and effectively sheltered the defense. His limited attacking efforts, though, led to his substitution in the 70th minute as Argentina sought a more convincing advantage.
8/10 - Rodrigo De Paul
Five minutes before halftime, the Udinese player snapped the deadlock. As several potential suitors looked on, his overall performance helped to raise his stock.
Nicolas Gonzalez - a score of six out of ten
In attack, Nicolas Gonzalez did not have the same impact as his teammates. In the 83rd minute, the Fiorentina player was changed.
7.5/10 for Lautaro Martinez
In the build-up to the second goal, Lautaro Martinez displayed remarkable anticipation by taking advantage of Messi's ball. Argentina's blossoming relationship with his captain could be the key to their comeback to the top of the sport.
Argentina's captain may have an unclear future at club level, but he put everything behind him to lead his country to yet another convincing victory.
The 34-year-old was involved in all three goals and is currently leading the Golden Boot race.
Angel di Maria - 7.5/10 Substitutes
With 20 minutes remaining, the PSG forward entered the game and had an exciting time on the pitch. He robbed Hincapie of the ball in the build-up to Argentina's second goal and was fouled by the same player for the 3-0 lead.
Guido Rodriguez has a score of 6/10.
In the 70th minute, Guido Rodriguez came in to replace Leandro Paredes, and his arrival helped Argentina maintain control of the midfield.
Nicolas Tagliafico has a score of 6/10.
Nicolas Tagliafico came on for seven minutes and helped Argentina add additional pace along the left flank.
Sergio Aguero (N/A) Sergio Aguero (N/A) Sergio Aguero (N
The Barcelona man came on in the dying embers of the game and barely had a kick of the ball.