The Albiceleste extends Colombia from eleven meters after the 1-1 regular time scored by the goals of Lautaro and Diaz. Decisive goalkeeper Martinez, Now La Pulce will challenge Brazil for the title
The most awaited final but also the most evocative, the one that will see Messi and Neymar facing each other. The 47th America’s Cup will have its most worthy ending thanks to the success of Argentina, which reaches Brazil in the final overcoming Colombia after 90 ‘very tightly decided only by the penalty spot. Lautaro opens the dance, with the third consecutive center, then Diaz’s response in the second half and three woods (two for Colombia) before the inevitable penalty kicks. There the saves (and provocations) of Martinez are decisive, who blocks three shots by projecting the Seleccion into the final for the third time in the last four editions. La Pulce will try again after the finals lost in 2007, 2015 and 2016. Albiceleste will play the title against Brazil for the third time since the tournament changed its name in 1975, hoping to take revenge after the bitter morsels swallowed in the 2004 and 2007.
At the Mané Garrincha in Brasilia, emotions flowed thanks to an immediately aggressive Argentina and a Colombia not at all willing to lend its side. On the one hand the hunger and the feeling of the award-winning company Messi-Lautaro, protagonist of an overwhelming first quarter of an hour, on the other hand the tenacity and lucidity of Cuadrado and Diaz, more weapons than a Colombia capable of replying blow by blow thanks to the effective push on the side aisles. The result is a fun and fast-paced challenge, lit up as early as 4 ‘from the first ball touched by Messi: dribbling between three opponents and center for Lautaro, who sends a whisker to the side. For Argentina it is actually the prelude to the goal that arrives at the next attempt, always on the Messi-Lautaro axis, but with the decisive participation of Lo Celso at the start of the action. Precise unloading of the Pulce for Toro and a winning turn on the farthest pole to seal the usual scorching Albiceleste start (fifth goal in the first 15 ‘in the last six outings).
WOODS AND FOULS
However, Colombia was good at reacting immediately with a left-footed shot from Cuadrado, which Martinez neutralized coldly. The cafetera response goes much further, thanks to the effective dribble in the middle of the field and the ability to attack the spaces of Zapata and Borré, but the woods are holding back Colombia. Two to be exact within a minute, first on a shot by Barrios from distance (pole), then on a header by Mina in the center of the box (crossbar). Rueda’s troop still collects the credit with luck in the 61st minute, when Diaz catches the Argentine defense by surprise with a quick free kick and, popping up behind Pezzella, mock Martinez with the tip of his foot. Half an hour from the end, all to be redone for Argentina, to which Ospina had denied the doubling in the 44th minute out of pure instinct on a close header from Gonzalez. As the minutes pass, the tension rises and the challenge turns nasty after two bad entries on Messi, forced to play the last half hour with a bleeding ankle. The final is a riot of entrances to the limit, football, protests and yellow cards (the referee Valenzuela will distribute ten in all).
REFLECTIONS AND PROVOCATIONS
Argentina has two jolts right at the end, but Lautaro wastes a gigantic opportunity with the goal unguarded by shooting at Barrios, while at 81 ‘Messi hits the post to the right of Ospina with a powerful close left. The penalty kicks are therefore inevitable, which the Argentine goalkeeper transforms into an authentic show. Martinez provokes every opponent who stands in front of him (“I know you brother, now I’ll eat you”), gets Valenzuela’s calls and risks unleashing Borja’s fury, but in the end he succeeds in hypnotizing Sanchez, Mina and Cardona. For Argentina, De Paul is wrong, but Messi, Paredes and Lautaro keep their nerve giving themselves the decisive match against Seleçao. “We are happy and confident”, exulted Messi at the end of the match, “but with Neymar’s Brazil it will be very hard”.
July 7 – 07:50
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