Fri, 02 Jun 2023

Messi nets hat-trick as Argentina rout Curacao

29 Mar 2023, 17:55 GMT+10

SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO, Argentina, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Lionel Messi scored his 100th international goal as Argentina cruised to a 7-0 home win over Curacao in their lop-sided friendly here on Tuesday.

Messi netted a first-half hat-trick as the world champions raced to a 5-0 lead in the first 35 minutes before adding two more goals after halftime against their 86th-ranked opponents.

The Albiceleste captain has now scored 102 times in 174 appearances for his country.

Argentina made the perfect start at Estadio Unico as Messi showed deft control before dancing around his marker and firing an unstoppable shot into the bottom right corner with his weaker right foot.

Nico Gonzalez doubled the lead with a header and Messi fired his team's third goal just after the half-hour mark.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward turned provider shortly after as he laid a pass off to Enzo Fernandez, whose first-time effort from 20 yards left goalkeeper Eloy Room with no chance.

Messi then defied his 35 years with a dashing run into the box before calmly slotting another shot past Room.

The hosts dropped their intensity after halftime but their superiority remained evident.

Angel Di Maria converted a 78th-minute penalty after a handball and Gonzalo Montiel completed the rout by firing home following Paulo Dybala's cross three minutes from time.

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