Emi Martinez the Copa America hero for Argentina with THREE penalty saves in semi-final win over Colombia

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 (AP)
(AP)

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the Copa America hero for Argentina on Tuesday with three penalty saves in a semi-final shootout victory over Colombia.

With the score level at 1-1, it was down to spot kicks to decide who would face Brazil in the final.

Martinez tried to distract Colombia's players in the shootout with plenty of talking, and it appeared to work as he saved efforts from Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona.

Lionel Messi, so often the key man for Argentina, paid tribute to Martinez.

"€It was difficult at times,"€ he said. "€But we have Emi and he'€s phenomenal. We trusted him.

"We€'ve fulfilled our objective of coming here to play every game and now we'€re going to the final."

Martinez only made his international debut on June 3 in a World Cup qualifier against Chile and may not have not even have started at the Copa America had River Plate keeper Franco Armani not tested positive for coronavirus.

"We'€ve spent 40 days locked away, not seeing anyone outside our bubble,"€ he said after Tuesday'€s victory. "€We said on the first day we want to get to the final and what better than to play Brazil at their home.

"Brazil have a great team but we have the best in the world and we’re going there to win.”

Additional reporting by AP.

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