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Argentina book spot in Copa America last four

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Argentina are through to the Copa America semi-finals after a hard-fought win on penalties against Colombia.

Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta started for La Albiceleste, while it was former Blue Carlos Tevez who was the eventual hero, scoring the winning spot kick to book a place in the last four.

It was a deserved victory for Tata Martino’s side, who dominated and showed their attacking intent from the very first whistle.  They surged forward again and again, while their opponents merely set out to frustrate them for long periods and defended in numbers.

It was only the inspired display from Colombia stopper David Ospina that prevented Argentina from victory in normal time, with the keeper denying Aguero from close range before somehow reacting to keep out Lionel Messi’s effort on the rebound.

He was also forced into an excellent stop from Banenga’s effort and there were several goal line clearances as Colombia clung onto their spot in the tournament by their fingernails.

Aguero was his usual troublesome self for the Colombia defenders, who were likely to have breathed a sigh of relief when he was replaced by Tevez after 73 minutes, while Zabaleta spent much of his time in the attacking third with little defending to do down the right hand side.

However, with neither side able to find the breakthrough in 90 minutes, the game immediately progressed to penalties – even if this entertaining stalemate was an excellent advert for the tournament to introduce extra time.

Each side missed two penalties apiece in the opening five kicks, and it was left to Tevez to seek redemption after missing in the 2011 Copa America.

In his post-match press conference, Martino declared: “"Football is like that sometimes. I didn't put Tevez in among the first five penalties because he had missed in the previous Copa América.

"We tried to prevent him having to go up and take one but eventually it came around to him. That's football, and tomorrow's headlines will all be about redemption."

He was also full of praise for a performance in which his side were on top in every statistic bar goals.

Vamos equipo , vamos Argentina!!!!! pic.twitter.com/eXoBgDO8dY

— Pablo Zabaleta (@pablo_zabaleta) June 27, 2015

Added the manager: “We bossed the 90 minutes. I think we neutralised them in the way we pressed. I remember Colombia having a headed chance from a corner and that was about it.

"David Ospina was the main figure on the pitch, but there have been many games in the past like this one. Sometimes you don't get what you should for dominating, and I cannot imagine what it would have been like if we were sat here now talking about a defeat.

"If there was one failure today it was that we didn't score, but that's part of the game. But the fact we have played like we have is a positive."

Argentina will now face the winner of Brazil vs Paraguay on Tuesday for the right to progress to the final – which could mean that City’s Argentine trio come up against Fernandinho in the semi final.

We’’ll have news on Brazil’s quarter final showdown on mcfc.co.uk on Sunday morning.

 

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