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Messi scores twice as Argentina beats Guatemala 4-1

Messi was nursing a hamstring injury in early March, causing him to miss a couple of Argentina's friendlies and several matches for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS).

Messi scores twice as Argentina beats Guatemala 4-1
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Lionel Messi gets past defender Jose Ardon during the match

MARYLAND: After coming on as a substitute in the second half last week, Lionel Messi made his first start in Argentine colours and what a start it was! He scored a brace and assisted a goal as Argentina defeated Guatemala 4-1 in their final Copa America warm-up match.

Messi was nursing a hamstring injury in early March, causing him to miss a couple of Argentina's friendlies and several matches for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS). Argentina will open its Copa America campaign next Thursday, and they will surely be relieved as their talisman Messi seems ready for the challenge, as the Albicelestes defend their crown. Lautaro Martinez also found the net twice, one from a penalty spot. It will undoubtedly boost his confidence heading into the tournament opener next week.

Messi usually takes Argentina's penalty kicks, but on Friday night, he handed the ball to Lautaro. "Messi decided,” Scaloni said. “I don’t know exactly what happened on the field, if he was asked or he decided to give it to him. This shows how generous Leo Messi can be.” Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made a crucial save from a free kick in the fourth minute, but the rebound fell to onrushing Lisandro Martinez, who inadvertently scored an own goal. Argentina's dominance continued thereon. Messi's precise through ball sent Valentin Carboni into the penalty area, where he was brought down by Guatemalan defender Nicolas Samayoa, conceding a clear penalty. Lautaro calmly converted to score his second goal of the match. Enzo Fernandez then played a perfectly weighted ball over the defence to find Messi in stride. Messi deftly guided the ball across the goalmouth, where Lautaro was waiting to tap it in for his second and Argentina's third goal. Argentina wrapped up their impressive display in the 77th minute. Messi and Angel Di Maria exchanged a beautiful one-two pass, sending Messi through on goal. The maestro calmly chipped the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper, Hagen, to complete his brace and secure a convincing victory for Argentina.

DTNEXT Bureau
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