Lionel Messi’s 76th international goal helped Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Copa America football tournament, where they will face Colombia.
Messi scored the third goal for Argentina in the match played on Saturday and also helped in scoring both the earlier goals. He is now only one goal behind South America equaling Pele’s record for most goalscorers. The win has also kept Messi’s hopes alive of winning his first major international tournament.
Argentina will take on Colombia in the semi-finals on Tuesday, who beat Uruguay in another match in a penalty shootout. The second semi-final will be played between Brazil and Peru.
Rodrigo de Paul scored the first goal in the 39th minute in the match played at the Olympico Stadium in Goiânia. Lautaro Martínez scored the second goal in the 84th minute. Messi, playing his first match after his contract with Barcelona expired, helped score both of these goals.
Messi scored Argentina’s third goal on a free kick in the final moments of the match. This is his fourth goal in the tournament. Argentina’s margin of victory would have been even better but they missed many scoring opportunities which the team would like to improve before the crucial match ahead.