Lionel Messi scores two goals in victory for Argentina

Lionel Messi provided a superb pass, converted a penalty and added a stunning goal for Argentina, which thrashed Honduras 3-0 on Friday at the start of a two-game warm-up trip to the United States for the World Cup in Qatar.

Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring after 15 minutes, in a move that created a long and pumped pass from Messi, who hit from 11 steps at the end of the first half, with a cross ball to the left post. The Paris Saint-Germain star’s second goal came in the 68th minute, taking advantage of an exit error by the Honduran defense, with the assistance of Enzo Fernández and defining with a perfectly chopped ball from the crescent.

With his performance in South Florida, Messi reached 88 goals and established himself as the top scorer in history for his country’s national team.

The game against Honduras at the Hard Rock Stadium in this neighboring city of Miami began with a rhythm of precise touches by the team led by Lionel Scaloni, but after 20 minutes the game was full of interruptions due to constant friction.

Honduras applied a recipe from the past, with the personal brand of Héctor Castellanos on Messi. It didn’t do him any good: “Leo” participated in the first goal with the accurate pass to Alejandro “Papu” Gómez that ended in Martínez’s goal.

Later, the “Flea” enabled Lo Celso, who was penalized. The meltdown at 45 minutes led to the Argentine captain’s first goal in the match, played in a packed stadium with a capacity of 75,000 spectators, and which served as a thermometer for Scaloni to draw conclusions and continue completing the line-up that will finally be presented at the World.

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In the second half, the albiceleste helmsman took the opportunity to shoot young players. Julián Alvarez came on for Lautaro and Enzo Fernández for Leandro Paredes.

Although Honduras and Jamaica do not look like serious rivals —neither will attend the meeting in Qatar in November—, Argentina signed up to play with CONCACAF teams thinking of preparing for their commitment to Mexico, another team from the area that they will face in the group stage of the World Cup.

Honduras was last in CONCACAF qualifying.

The next appointment will be against Jamaica on Tuesday in Harrison, New Jersey. On November 16, six days before their World Cup debut, Argentina will play the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

The team led by Scaloni has a record of 34 games without losing, with 23 wins and 11 draws. His last fall was on July 2, 2019, when Brazil beat him 2-0.

The albiceleste, world champion in 1978 and 1986, will debut against Saudi Arabia on November 22 in Group C of the World Cup, which also includes Mexico and Poland.

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