Messi scores as Argentina beats Guatemala in their pre-Copa warm-up

On Friday, Lionel Messi scored twice as Argentina won 4-1 against Guatemala. Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP
Source: AFP

Lionel Messi scored twice and Argentina completed its Copa America preparations on Friday with a 4-1 friendly victory over Guatemala in Maryland.

Messi equalized early on and then slotted home the fourth for Argentina as the world champions came from behind in their final match before they begin the defense of their Copa America crown against Canada in Atlanta next Thursday.

Guatemala took a surprising lead after just four minutes at Commanders Field in Landover when Oscar Santis’ free kick from the left side of the pitch caused confusion among the Argentine defense.

Santis’ cross sailed across the six-yard box and ended when Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez tried to break into his own net and scored an own goal.

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Argentina didn’t have to wait long to equalize, however, and equalized in the 12th minute after a disastrous error by Guatemalan goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen.

Without any pressure, Hagen attempted a clearance with a back pass straight to an unmarked Messi in the middle of the penalty area.

The Argentine captain duly took advantage of the opportunity he was given as a gift, touched the ball and calmly buried his 107th international goal.

It was then a matter of time before Argentina added a second goal, with Guatemala sitting deep and encouraging pressure.

Argentina finally took the lead from the penalty spot in the 39th minute after Guatemala defender Nicolas Samayoa brought down Valentin Carboni after the 19-year-old striker pounced on goal.

Messi decided to miss the opportunity to take a penalty, and instead it was Lautaro Martinez who stepped in and shot into the net to make it 2-1.

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Argentina almost extended their lead early in the first half when Messi hit a low, raspy free kick from the edge of the penalty area onto the inside of the post.

Lautaro Martinez’s overhead kick also hit the post after a deflection, and although Lisandro Martinez put the loose ball into the net, the Manchester United defender was ruled offside.

The Argentines increased the score to 3-1 in the 66th minute after a beautiful team goal.

Messi found Enzo Fernandez in space in the box and the Chelsea midfielder then passed to Messi in the box.

The Inter Miami star’s first shot was picked up by Lautaro Martinez with a simple shot from close range.

Messi then completed his double by scoring in the 77th minute, intercepting a phenomenal pass from another veteran, Angel Di Maria, to secure a 4-1 victory over Hagen.