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Argentina celebrate win against Colombia / CA2015.COM

Leo Messi and Argentina are through to the semi finals of the Copa América after a heart stopping victory 5-4 on penalties in the quarter finals against Colombia. The game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, thanks in the main to a wonderful performance from Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina for 'los cafeteros' who denied the Barça number 10 on numerous occasions in normal time. However, 'Tata' Martino's team put in their best performance of the tournament so far and prospered in the penalty shoot, in an experimental format for the Copa América that does away with extra time and goes straight to the deciding lottery from 18 yards should the game end all square in 90 minutes during the knock out stages.

Messi denied by Ospina

Nicolás Otamendi and 'Kun' Agüero returned to the Argentine starting 11 with regards to the team that started in the nervy 1-0 win in the final game of the group stage against Jamaica, Demechelis and Higuaín dropping back to the bench. Argentina had the better of the opening exchanges, so much so that Colombia coach José Pekerman made a tactical switch half way through the opening half, sacrificing striker Teófilo Gutiérrez for Edwin Cardona. The best chance in the first 45 minutes fell shortly after to the Argentina captain who had only this week celebrated his 28th birthday. A ball into the near post was met by Manchester City striker Agüero - Colombia keeper Ospina made a great save only to go one better by dragging himself across the goal line to deny Messi's header from the rebound.

Goalless 90 minutes and penalties

Colombia were lucky to go in at the break level and they continued to ride their luck in the second half. Argentina once again were the team more likely to decide the contest in normal time, especially with the introduction of best Tévez and Banega by former Barça coach Martino. The Juventus striker struck the woodwork with just 13 minutes to go courtesy of another excellent stop from Ospina. With the score 0-0 at fulll time, Messi opened the penalty shoot out with a coolly struck effort. El 'Apache' Tévez was to have his revenge over Ospina, scoring the decisive spot kick to see the 'albiceleste' through to face either Brazil or Paraguay in the Copa América semi-finals.

MATCH DETAILS

Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Garay, Otamendi, Rojo; Mascherano, Biglia, Pastore (Banega) and Di María (Lavezzi); Messi, Agüero (Tevez)

Colombia: Ospina, Zúñiga, Zapata, Murillo and Arias; Mejía, Ibarbo (Muriel), Cuadrado, James Rodríguez; Téo Gutiérrez (Cardona) and Jackson Martinez (Falcao Garcia)

Penalties:

Argentina: Messi (goal), Garay (goal), Banega (goal), Lavezzi (goal), Biglia (miss), Rojo (miss), Tevez (goal)

Colômbia: James Rodríguez (goal), Falcao (goal), Cuadrado (goal), Muriel (miss), Cardona (goal), Zuñiga (saved), Murillo (miss)


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