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Lionel Messi decisive again as Argentina advance to Copa America semifinal

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The captain was crucial in the victory against Ecuador

Argentina v Ecuador: Quarterfinal - Copa America Brazil 2021 Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

The Copa America quarterfinals came to an end on Saturday night in Goiânia, and Argentina confirmed their status as favorites and advanced to the semifinal with a 3-0 win over Ecuador, with Lionel Messi directly involved in all three goals for the Albiceleste.

Argentina started well and had some big chances early on, with the biggest of them coming on an awful back pass by Gruezo that gave Lionel Messi a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the captain somehow missed it and hit the post.

But Messi wasn’t done being impactful in the game, and he was involved in the first goal with a gorgeous assist to Rodrigo De Paul for the opener.

Ecuador fought hard in the second half and caused plenty of problems, but Emi Martínez and the Argentina defense held strong until the 84th minute, when Di María stole the ball high up the pitch and Messi got his second assist of the night to set up Lautaro Martínez who made it 2-0 for the Albiceleste.

Then Hincapié brought down Di María inside the box and Argentina got a penalty, but the decision was reversed by VAR and Argentina were given a free-kick instead. That was actually good news, because we got to see Messi score an absolute PEACH of a free-kick with a rocket into the top corner.

Two assists and a brilliant goal, and a date with Colombia in the semifinals. Messi is two games away from glory with his country, and he looks ready and hungry.