Lionel Messi will have to help Argentina defeat Brazil if he is to lift the 2021 edition of Copa America.
The Barcelona captain earned his fifth assist of the tournament in the first half. His pass to Lautaro Martinez allowed the Inter Milan man to fire the ball in the right corner past Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.
The Colombians did not go down lightly and hit the bar and the post in the first half before they levelled in the 61st minute with Luis Diaz. The Porto forward received the ball on the left of Argentina’s box and shot from a tight angle to beat Emiliano Martinez.
Argentina reacted after 67 minutes when Angel di Maria came into the match, replacing Nico Gonzalez. The winger created several opportunities, including one in the 80th minute that ended with Davinson Sanchez preventing a finish by Lautaro Martinez on the goal line.
The last big opportunity in regular time came with Messi hitting Ospina’s right post in the 81st minute from short range, with the game finishing 1-1.
Martinez saved shots taken by Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona in the shootout. Messi converted his opportunity from the spot and was one of the most joyous players in the celebrations – now seeking his first major title with Argentina against favourites Brazil.
Neymar helped Brazil beat Peru 1-0 on Monday to advance to the final. They have never lost a Copa America final at home and won five out of six matches so far.
Argentina will now face Brazil on Saturday at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while Colombia will play on Friday in the third-place play-off against Peru.