Star footballer Lionel Messi scored twice in Argentina’s warm up game for Copa America against Nicaragua, on their way to a comprehensive 5-1 win on Friday in San Juan. The match was their only warm up game before the Copa America later this month.
The Central Americans, who would be featuring in this month’s Gold Cup tournament, initially frustrated the Argentina players and fans, but it took some brilliance from captain Leo to help Argentina exert their dominance in the match. The left footer found the net in the 37th minute of the match before doubling Argentina’s lead just 96 seconds later.
Lautaro Martinez who plays forward for Inter Milan, also scored twice to help build Argentina’s lead further. Interestingly, Martinez came out off the substitutes bench at the half-time mark to score twice, a good problem to have for the Argentina team, to try and draft him into the first XI.
The Lionel Scaloni side is aiming to end Argentina’s 26-year-old wait for a trophy. Only Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria remain from the team that was beaten by Germany in the World Cup final in Rio five years ago – a testimony to the strict team selection policy of Scaloni.
However, Argentina will hope that Messi is in full flow in the Copa America to help the South Americans win the coveted title.
Messi has already lost three World Cup finals before this and the last time Argentina won this competition, Messi was just six years old. With Brazil’s Neymar ruled out of the tournament because of injury, Argentina are starting this tournament as one of the favourites.
In the initial minutes of the match, Argentina did not play as they were expected, including a 12th-minute miss from Messi. However, soon Messi and team found their rhythm going forward and registered a comfortable win against Nicaragua.