Jeremy Sarmiento impressed again for Ecuador at the Copa America.

But the quarter-finals ended in disappointment as they went out to Argentina on penalties.

A late goal by Union St-Gilloise’s Kevin Rodriguez secured a 1-1 draw for La Tri.

Lionel Messi hit the bar with an attempted Panenka at the start of the shoot-out.

But Emiliano Martinez was again the world champions’ saviour with two stops.

Sarmiento has played on the left of the attack and been one of Ecuador’s best players in the USA.

He will now take a break and also sort out his immediate future in England.

Ipswich, where he did well on loan in the second half of last season, would love to take him back after he helped them secure promotion to the Premier League.

Ecuador coach Felix Sanchez Bas said the performance had shown his team “can compete against any opponent”.

He added: “The quarter-finals had us playing against the most difficult opponent and I thought we delivered well.” Martinez, who made a first-half save from Sarmiento, praised Ecuador but said he was “not ready to go home”.

He saved from Ecuador’s Angel Mena and Alan Minda, then said: “This team deserved to advance.

“They complicated us a lot. They played a great match, very physical. We knew they were one of the top rivals in Copa America.”

Lisandro Martinez headed the defending champions ahead midway through the first half before Rodriguez, who had gone on for Sarmiento on 76 minutes, equalised in the first minute of stoppage time.

Enner Valencia hit the post with an Ecuador penalty early in the second half.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni admitted he “did not enjoy the win”.