Messi on Martinez after penalty masterclass: He is a phenomenon
Lionel Messi has sung praises to the performances of Emiliano Martinez in the shootout against Columbia, labelling the shot-stopper a “phenomenon” after he saved three penalties to send them to the final.
The Argentines were compelled to book their ticket to the final at the Maracana for the Copa America showdown vs Brazil through penalties after Colombia drew them 1-1 in normal time, with Luiz Diaz cancelling Lauturo Martinez’s opener.
Colombia had progressed to the semifinals after beating Uruguay on penalties, had to contend with Martinez who produced saves against Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona.
As the Argentines have booked a date in Rio de Janeiro with hosts Brazil on Sunday for continental silverware, the narrative is now dominated by Messi’s long term search for an international trophy that has long eluded him.
The Blaugrana legend has previously made the Copa America final on three other occasions, finding himself on the losing side each time, but the emergence of the great Martinez has brought some sort of relief and positivity to the Argentine camp. The reliable shot-stopper has shown that he has the ability to swing the momentum in favour of Argentina.
“We have Emi, who is a phenomenon,” Messi said after the match.
“We knew that he was going to stop them. We know and trust him. He deserves it.
“We achieved the goal of being able to play all the games and now we are going to the final.”
Scaloni added: “We are very happy with Emiliano’s performance, not only because of the penalties but also because of the security that he is transmitting.”
Last season, he (Martinez) had 15 clean sheets behind Ederson (19) and Mendy (16) and also produced 142 saves.
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