Carlos Tevez sealed Argentina’s pass to the semi-finals of the Copa America with a decisive penalty kick against Colombia, who left the tournament with just one goal scored.
Tevez, who missed a huge penalty when Argentina went out in a shootout at the 2011 tournament, put in the winning penalty kick after Colombia’s Jeison Murillo shot his over the bar.
The 31-year-old, who came on as a second half substitute, provided the dramatic final for Argentina after two of his teammates missed kicks that would have ended the game earlier.
Argentina will now wait for the winner of Paraguay-Brazil, who play later today. Paraguay is coming off a solid group stage and Brazil is missing Neymar, but showed they can play without him against Venezuela.
Tevez admitted that this moment was great, after missing a penalty four years ago that got them eliminated at home. “In soccer there’s always a second chance,” said Tevez, who earlier signed with Boca Juniors, a team he loves and has played for in the past. “But tonight is not about me, it’s about my teammates. My team
mates won this match and I’m very proud of them, and I’m proud to be part of this squad.”
Tevez, who was out of the national team for three years, said he is happy about his small role with the team. “I enjoy playing, the team is playing well and I just have to wait for my chance,” Tevez said.
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino admitted that he had left Tevez out from his list of five designated penalty takers for the shootout after what happened at the 2011 tournament. “I didn’t put Tevez among the top five because the last time he shot, Argentina went out. We wanted to avoid that,” Martino revealed.
It was a bad loss for Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina, who had single handedly kept his team in the contest with a lot of spectacular saves in the 90 minutes.
First Half Filled With Yellow Cards
Argentina dominated the first half and it seemed like the game would get out of control after the two committed tough fouls, which went unpunished by the referee.
Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore had the first opportunity, touching on a low cross from Angel Di Maria that was cleared at the near post by the defence seven minutes in.
Three minutes later Barcelona star Lionel Messi swept forward from halfway and released Di Maria in space only for the Manchester United player to take a weak shot at Ospina.
James Rodriguez was among the six players booked in the first half. Santiago Arias, Alexander Mejia, Juan Cuadrado, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero were all given yellow cards in the first 45 minutes.
The craziest play of the second half was a double save from Ospina. The Arsenal goalkeeper has an uncertain future with the team after they signed veteran Petr Cech.
He would go on to stop more shots and one of them was from Aguero after a great pass from Pastore. Minutes later, it was Messi’s turn but Ospina cleared the header over the bar after a great recovery. Ospina saved Colombia again with another superb diving save to tip Nicolas Otamendi’s shot onto the post with 10 minutes left.
But Ospina could not do the same in the penalties as Argentina made their first four shots. La Albiceleste had the chance to seal the shootout with Biglia but he missed his shot, which gave Tevez a chance to redeem himself.