Published: 16:53, June 15, 2024
Messi shines as Argentina routs Guatemala in Copa America warmup
By Xinhua
Argentina forward Lionel Messi (10) dribbles the ball between Guatemala midfielder Marco Dominguez (5) and defender Jonathan Franco (22) during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Friday, June 14, 2024, in Landover, Md. (PHOTO / AP)

WASHINGTON - Lionel Messi scored two goals and set up another as Argentina came from behind to beat Guatemala 4-1 in their international friendly here on Friday.

Lisandro Martinez gifted Guatemala the lead in the fourth minute at Commanders Field when he turned the ball into his own net at the far post after a dangerous Oscar Santis free-kick.

The reigning world champion equalized minutes later after a bungled clearance attempt by goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen allowed Messi to roll the ball into an unguarded net.

The Albiceleste took the lead just before halftime through Lautaro Martinez, who converted from the penalty spot after Nicolas Samayoa's reckless challenge on Valentin Carboni.

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Argentina forward Lionel Messi warms up before an international friendly soccer match against Guatemala, June 14, 2024, in Landover, Md. (PHOTO / AP)

Argentina began to dominate and Martinez extended his team's advantage just after the hour through a superbly worked team goal.

Enzo Fernandez began the move with a sumptuous chip into the path of Messi, who laid off an equally impressive one-touch pass to the unmarked Martinez on the edge of the six-yard box.

Messi completed the rout with a lofted effort over Hagen after being set up by Angel Di Maria 13 minutes from time.

The match was Argentina's last outing before this summer's Copa America in the United States. The Albiceleste, who won the last edition of the continental tournament in 2021, will begin its title defense against Canada on June 20 before also facing Chile and Peru in the group stage.