Argentina flirted with disaster after finding Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina impregnable for the 90 minutes of the Copa America clash on Friday. Lionel Messi and co. used the football like a battering ram time and again and time and again over the course of the quarterfinal, only to find Ospina made of the kind of door, you know those old ones, that just cannot be broken, try as anyone might.
The inevitable penalty shootout ensued – no extra time in these quarterfinals – and Argentina came out smiling at the end, as Carlos Tevez struck the decisive spotkick to send the Albiceleste to the semifinals, where they will meet the winner of the final quarterfinal between Brazil and Paraguay.
After the match ended 0-0 at normal time, the penalty shootout came to the fore. The first four ones each for both teams went in, before Colombia forward Luis Muriel fired one over the bar. The inevitable look at penalty spot followed, but there was no running away from the fact that it was just a poor penalty.
Muriel needn't have worried too much, however, as he was followed by a few more rather forgettable ones. Lucas Biglia, with the penalty to send Argentina through, missed, and so did Juan Zuniga, Marcos Rojo and Jeison Murillo.
Those misses meant, Tevez had the strike at sudden death to win Argentina the match, and the experienced striker thumped the ball past Ospina's right hand, knowing, anything less and the Colombia goalkeeper would have found a way to stop it.
Had it not been for Arsenal-not-for-long Ospina, the match would have ended earlier, with Colombia thanking their stars their stellar goalkeeper was in such prime form.
There were three saves in the game that were right out of the world-class draw, with the first one a double save that was scarcely believable, and would have looked impossible if not for the fact that the scoreline on top remained the same – 0-0.
Javier Pastore slid in a cross from the right, with Aguero applying a near-post finish, only to be denied by a brilliant stop from Ospina. However, the rebound fell to a galloping Messi, whose header from eight yards looked destined to ripple the net only for that man Ospina again to somehow spring up and keep the ball out one more time.
Colombia just could not find any kind of form going forward, while Argentina were left wondering if it was going to be one of those nights.
Those thoughts only increased when Ospina came to Colombia's rescue again towards the end of the 90 minutes. A corner from the Argentina left was nicely guided off the left boot of Nicolas Otamendi. Again the ball looked like it was only going one way, but Ospina stuck out a left hand, pushed the ball onto the post.
Just prior to that, substitute Ever Banega had hit the crossbar, with Ospina, this time, left rooted to his spot, but a penalty shootout it was to be, leading to the always-gonna-be-there drama.