Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero stole the show as Argentina warmed up for the start of World Cup qualifying next month with a 7-0 thrashing of Bolivia on Friday.
Aguero scored twice and set up two more for Ezequiel Lavezzi in a one-sided victory at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium as Messi grabbed a quickfire double after coming on as a second half substitute. Angel Correa added the seventh.
It was Argentina’s first match since their agonising Copa America final defeat to Chile in July, when Gerardo Martino’s men failed to end their 22-year wait for a major title.
With Barcelona star Messi left on the bench in the first half, it was left to Manchester City striker Aguero to stamp his authority on proceedings.
Aguero created the first goal for Paris Saint-Germain’s Lavezzi after only six minutes, lofting a superb pass into the path of the midfielder who controlled well and rifled home.
Better was to follow just after the half-hour mark, when Aguero opened his account for the evening with a sublime angled chip over Bolivia goalkeeper Daniel Vaca to make it 2-0.
The in-form Lavezzi then grabbed Argentina’s third in the 41st when a quickly taken free-kick caught Bolivia’s defenders napping. Aguero weaved his way to the edge of the area and then slipped in Lavezzi, who finished for 3-0.
The onslaught continued early in the second half, Aguero latching onto a perfectly weighted pass from Lavezzi to dink in his second of the evening over the hapless Vaca for 4-0.
Martino waited until the 65th minute to give Messi a chance to get in on the goalscoring action, and the diminutive superstar did not have long to wait, heading home just two minutes after coming on as a substitute.
The goal saw Messi complete a goalscoring full house against South American opposition; previously Bolivia were the only country from the region the superstar had failed to score against.
Messi grabbed his second 15 minutes from time, pouncing on another wonderful pass by Aguero and rounding Vaca to make it 6-0. With Bolivia’s defence being pierced at will by Argentina, few would have bet against Messi completing a hat-trick.
However it was Correa who scored next, finishing off an assist from Matias Kranevitter.
Argentina, who face Mexico in Tuesday in a further friendly in Texas, open their World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador next month.
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