Lionel Messi Saved by Emiliano Martinez After Copa America Panenka Goes Wrong

Lionel Messi Saved by Emiliano Martinez After Copa America Panenka Goes Wrong

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi’s blushes were spared by teammate Emiliano Martinez as the legendary forward missed his penalty during Argentina’s penalty shootout against Ecuador in the Copa America quarter-finals on Thursday evening. The former Barcelona star has long been his nation’s hero and was instrumental in their World Cup success in 2022.

This time, though, he had to be bailed out by his teammates, none more than goalkeeper Martinez who was on hand to provide some incredible heroics during the penalty shootout as he has done in the past. Aston Villa’s shot-stopper put on a superb display in the World Cup final shootout against France that saw Argentina lift the trophy for the first time in decades, and he repeated those heroics against Ecuador by saving two of their four penalties.

This will have come as a relief to Messi who got his nation off to the worst possible start when he was left with egg on his face following a botched attempt at one of the coolest spot-kicks in the game.

Messi Attempted a Panenka

It went badly wrong for him

Lionel Messi

When done right, a Panenka is the coolest-looking penalty in football. It shows a level of calmness in one of the most high-pressure situations in the sport. When it goes wrong, though, it makes the taker look pretty ridiculous for even trying something so audacious with the stakes so high. Unfortunately for Messi, that’s how things unfolded on Thursday night. After Lisandro Martinez had given Argentina the lead in the first half, they were crushed by a 91st-minute Ecuador equaliser.

With extra-time not an option in the Copa America until the final, the match went straight to penalties and Messi was the first player to step up for his country to take a spot-kick. Rather than let the pressure get to him, he attempted a Panenka, which is when a player calmly chips the ball down the middle of the goal. The keeper dived to his left, meaning the forward just had to get it on target to go in, but the ball clipped the bar and bounced away, leaving the Inter Miami star looking very foolish. View Messi’s failed Panenka penalty below:

Speaking after the match, Messi expressed his frustration over his penalty miss and revealed that he had been convinced by Argentina’s goalkeepers to go down that particular route.

Fortunately for the forward, the miss didn’t ultimately prove costly and he has his teammate and goalkeeper, Martinez, to thank for that after he stepped up again.

Martinez Saved Ecuador’s First Two Penalties

It was enough to secure the win

Emi Martinez

While Messi’s miss ensured things couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for Argentina, goalkeeper Martinez quickly made sure things were back on level footing immediately by saving Ecuador’s first spot-kick from Angel Mena. To add to his impressive feat, he then went on to save their next attempt from Alan Minda and the reigning world champions didn’t look back from that point on.

Argentina scored four straight penalties after Messi’s miss to secure the victory, but it wouldn’t have been possible without Martinez’s dominance in between the sticks. In fact, they might not have reached a shootout at all if he hadn’t stepped up and saved Enner Valencia’s penalty in the second half of the match to keep their noses in front. What a goalkeeper

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