After penalties, the title holders are still alive at the Copa America and remain on track for a third consecutive major tournament trophy. Check out the best facts and Opta data with our Argentina vs Ecuador stats page.

Emiliano Martínez was Argentina’s penalty shootout hero once more as they edged out Ecuador to reach the Copa America semi-finals, despite Lionel Messi’s failed Panenka attempt.

The reigning champions survived a huge scare at NRG Stadium, where Kevin Rodríguez’s stoppage-time equaliser cancelled out Lisandro Martínez’s first-half header to take the last-eight tie the distance.

It appeared La Albiceleste’s title defence was in doubt when Messi, back in the side after missing the Peru match with a hamstring injury, chipped the first penalty against the crossbar.

But Emiliano Martínez, who played starring roles from the spot during La Albiceleste’s 2022 World Cup triumph, made saves to deny Ángel Mena and Alan Minda, before Nicolás Otamendi struck the decisive kick for Lionel Scaloni’s side.

Argentina have never lost a penalty shootout with Emiliano Martínez in goal: two in the Copa America (against Colombia in 2021 and Ecuador tonight) and two in the World Cup (against the Netherlands and France in 2022).

Félix Sánchez’s Ecuador had not scored in a Copa America quarter-final since 1997, but they made the brighter start in Houston.

Cristian Romero just about denied Moisés Caicedo a shot on goal, before Emiliano Martínez came to Argentina’s rescue as he blocked Jeremy Sarmiento’s effort from a tight angle.

However, the reigning champions took the lead in the 35th minute when Alexis Mac Allister flicked Messi’s corner towards the far post, where the unmarked Lisandro Martínez nodded into an empty net.

It came during Argentina’s only sustained stretch of convincing play:

Argentina 1-1 Ecuador Copa America momentum

Ecuador were handed a gilt-edge opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, when Rodrigo De Paul was adjudged to have handled in the box. However, they could not capitalise as Enner Valencia struck Emiliano Martínez’s right post with his spot-kick, despite sending the Argentina goalkeeper the wrong way.

But there was to be a dramatic late twist in stoppage time as Rodríguez glanced home John Yeboah’s cross, with La Tricolor almost completing a sensational turnaround with Jordy Caicedo heading narrowly wide with the last kick of normal time.

They landed the first blow of the shootout when Messi’s attempted Panenka clipped the top of the crossbar, but it proved a false dawn as Emiliano Martínez took centre stage yet again to swing the shootout back in Argentina’s favour, before they scraped over the line.

Reigning Champions Scrape Through by the Skin of Their Teeth

Argentina are the first side through to the last four, and their title defence remains on track, but only just.

They broke the deadlock through Lisandro Martínez, who was in the right place to open his senior international account, while becoming the first Argentina defender to score in the Copa America since Victor Cuesta eight years ago.

Emiliano Martínez looked set to earn a fourth clean sheet of this tournament, and become the second Argentina goalkeeper after Sergio Romero to reach that tally in separate editions, but Rodríguez had other ideas with his dramatic equaliser.

Nevertheless, after Messi missed in yet another Copa America shootout – famously doing so in the 2016 final defeat to Chile – the goalkeeper dug his skipper out of a hole with two smart saves eventually proving the difference.

Argentina Hoodoo Continues as Ecuador Pay the Penalty

Ecuador knew they needed to rewrite history to achieve a positive result here. La Tricolor had never beaten Argentina in the Copa America, losing 11 and drawing five of their 16 previous attempts, while they had won just five of the 40 meetings overall.

Despite conceding in the opening half for the first time in this tournament, they outshot their opponents (four to three) in the first 45 minutes, but the last of those efforts came in the 16th minute.

Though they snatched a dramatic equaliser, Valencia’s earlier penalty miss was a sign of things to come, as the wait for a first semi-final appearance since 1993 goes on.

Nevertheless, Sánchez’s side depart the United States having contributed a small piece of history. At just 17 years and 61 days old, rising star Kendry Páez became the youngest player to appear in a Copa America quarter-final. 

Our Opta match centre delivers you all the Argentina vs Ecuador stats from their Copa America 2024 knockout clash at NRG Stadium in Houston.

The match centre below includes team and player stats, expected goals data, passing networks, an Opta chalkboard and more. It gives you everything you need to do your own post-match analysis.

Underneath the match centre you can find the official Opta stats on the game as well. 

Argentina vs Ecuador: Post-Match Facts

  • Argentina extended their unbeaten streak against Ecuador to 17 matches in the CONMEBOL Copa America (W11 D6). This is the third longest unbeaten run for La Albiceleste against a single opponent in the competition, following a 30-match run against Chile (W22 D8, excluding penalty shootouts) and 26 straight against Paraguay (W20 D6).
  • Argentina have won two consecutive penalty shootouts in the Copa America (against Colombia in 2021 and Ecuador in 2024), a feat they had only achieved once before, against Brazil and Colombia in 1993.
  • Argentina have never lost a penalty shootout with Emiliano Martínez in goal: two in Copa America (against Colombia in 2021 and Ecuador in 2024) and two in the FIFA World Cup (against the Netherlands and France in 2022).
  • Kevin Rodríguez scored at 90:50, marking the latest goal for Ecuador in Copa America in the 21st century. This surpasses Alan Minda’s goal against Jamaica at 90:38 in the current edition of the tournament.
  • Emiliano Martínez has faced six penalties in regular time while playing for the Argentine national team: three were scored, he saved one against Chile (which Arturo Vidal scored on the rebound), and two hit the post (Yoshimar Yotún of Peru in South American Qualifiers and Enner Valencia today in the Copa America).
  • Lisandro Martínez is the first Argentine defender to score in the Copa America since Víctor Cuesta did so against Bolivia in 2016. The last Argentine defender to score in a knockout stage match was Marcos Rojo against Paraguay in the 2015 semifinals.

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