Gerardo Martino said he doubted whether Argentina match-winner Carlos Tevez would handle the pressure of another Copa America penalty shoot-out against Colombia on Friday.
Martino’s men eventually reached the semi-finals by winning 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in Vina del Mar, with Tevez stepping up to clinch victory with his side’s seventh kick.
Tevez’s coach later confessed that he had held back the striker in case he could not cope with the memories of his vital mistake in Argentina’s shoot-out exit to Uruguay in 2011.
Fernando Muslera saved Tevez’s penalty in the Santa Fe quarter-final, and it was the only penalty missed as the then-hosts bowed out.
“Football is like that sometimes. I didn’t put Tevez in among the first five penalties because he had missed in the previous Copa America,” Martino told reporters at a post-match news conference.
“We tried to prevent him having to go up and take one but eventually it came around to him. That’s football, and tomorrow’s headlines will all be about redemption.”
The 52-year-old was full of praise for his side’s performance despite them being unable to make their superiority count with a win in normal time.
“We bossed the 90 minutes,” he added.
“I think we neutralised them in the way we pressed. I remember Colombia having a headed chance from a corner and that was about it.
“David Ospina was the main figure on the pitch, but there have been many games in the past like this one.
“Sometimes you don’t get what you should for dominating, and I cannot imagine what it would have been like if we were sat here now talking about a defeat.
“If there was one failure today it was that we didn’t score, but that’s part of the game. But the fact we have played like we have is a positive.”
Argentina will face one of Brazil or Paraguay in Tuesday’s second semi-final in Concepcion, with the identity of their opponents to be settled in Saturday’s remaining quarter-final.
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