Milestone Messi shines in Argentine goal fest
30 March, 2023, 5:48 am
SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO, Argentina (Reuters) -Lionel Messi surpassed the 100-goals mark for World Cup champions Argentina on Tuesday by scoring a hat-trick in their 7-0 friendly win over Curacao.
Argentina’s leading scorer reached a century of international goals when he opened the scoring after 20 minutes, Giovani Lo Celso setting him up in the centre of the box to slot home a low shot.
“We will never stop celebrating and I think it’s fair and deserved,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni told reporters.
“I hope there will be more (Messi goals), he deserves all the praise and it’s good that these goals had been on Argentine soil, that has a special value too.”
Nicolas Gonzalez doubled the hosts’ lead shortly after with a header past Curacao keeper Eloy Room before Messi got his second with a trademark curling shot in at the far post in the 33rd minute.
Messi then set up Enzo Fernandez to fire home from the edge of the box for Argentina’s fourth two minutes later and the 35-year-old completed his hat-trick in the 37th minute with a simple finish following another pass from Lo Celso.
Substitute Angel Di Maria got on the scoreboard from the penalty spot in the 78th minute and Gonzalo Montiel, who scored Argentina’s last penalty to beat France in the World Cup final, sealed the rout three minutes from full-time.
(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Peter Rutherford)