Argentina 5-1 Nicaragua: Lionel Messi nets twice in rout as Scaloni’s men record big win ahead of Copa America
- Lionel Messi scored a brace as Argentina cruised to a 5-1 win over Nicaragua
- Substitute Lautaro Martinez also netted twice in San Juan, Argentina
- Watford’s Roberto Pereyra added gloss to the scoreline in the closing minutes
- Lionel Scaloni’s men face Colombia in their first Copa America match on June 15
Lionel Messi was the star of the show as Argentina beat Nicaragua in style ahead of the Copa America.
The Barcelona forward struck twice in the first half before Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Pereyra added gloss to the score.
The Central Americans, who will participate in this month’s Gold Cup tournament, initially frustrated the hosts with the score still goalless as it approached half-time.
Lionel Messi scored twice as Argentina romped to a 5-1 victory over Nicaragua
Messi grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and sparked his side into action by netting the opener in the 37th minute. The forward weaved between three defenders before slotting into the bottom corner.
The Argentina captain doubled his tally and their lead moments later to put the hosts firmly in the ascendancy.
Martinez came off the bench to grab a brace of his own as Argentina romped to victory at San Juan del Bicentenario stadium in San Juan.
Messi weaves between three defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom corner
The Argentina captain goes for goal at San Juan del Bicentenario stadium
Nicaragua are ranked 129th in the world, and on this evidence will struggle during their maiden Copa America campaign
Scaloni withdrew key men Messi and Aguero at half-time, which allowed Martinez, 21, to dictate play during the second half.
Watford’s Roberto Pereyra added a fifth with nine minutes to go while Nicaragua’s consolation came through Juan Barrera’s late spot kick.
Argentina will begin their Copa America campaign against Colombia in Salvador on June 15 before taking on Paraguay and Asian champions Qatar on June 20.
Substitute Lautaro Martinez scores a brace as Argentina prepare for the Copa America