Copa America: 'Argentina have blind trust in their goalkeeper', Scaloni hails Emiliano after penalty shootout heroics

Houston, July 5 (IANS) Argentina faced their first hiccup of the 2024 Copa America as they were forced to go to penalties against Ecuador in the quarterfinals of the tournament at the NRG Stadium.
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Copa America: 'Argentina have blind trust in their goalkeeper', Scaloni hails Emiliano after penalty shootout heroics

Houston, July 5 (IANS) Argentina faced their first hiccup of the 2024 Copa America as they were forced to go to penalties against Ecuador in the quarterfinals of the tournament at the NRG Stadium.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is cementing his legacy as perhaps the greatest penalty shootout stopper in the history of the game as he once again carried the team to the semifinals of the tournament.

"In the penalties, the team felt a blind trust in their goalkeeper. He is indispensable. When he saves penalties, it reverberates in the stadium. This time I didn't enjoy anything. We're happy, of course, but I didn't have a good time this time," said Lionel Scaloni to reporters in the post game conference.

Lisandro Martinez scored his first goal in an Argentina shirt in the 35th minute of the game and the defending champions seemed to have the victory within their grasp until the 90+1 minute mark, when Kevin Rodriguez scored a brilliant header to deservedly tie the game for Ecuador.

Lionel Messi tried to score a panenka penalty with the first spot kick of the night but ended hitting the crossbar. Martinez came to the rescue and saved Ecuador’s opening two penalties to give his side the victory.

"I wasn't ready to go home. This group deserved to go on. I work to do this. I dive 500 times per training session. We have to give our best because the people deserve it," said Argentina’s hero.

The side won their fourth straight penalty shootout ever since the induction of ‘Dibu’ into the starting squad. They previously won the 2021 Copa America semifinal vs Colombia, the 2022 World Cup quarterfinal vs Netherlands, and the 2022 World Cup final vs France.

"We have an animal in goal. What he is doing is crazy. He deserves it. He loves these colors. He gives us a lot of security and peace of mind,” added Argentina’s midfield anchor, De Paul.

--IANS

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