Messi scores twice as Argentina routs Nicaragua
Lionel Messi scored a firsthalf double as Argentina warmed up for the Copa America with a comprehensive 5-1 win over Nicaragua on Friday in San Juan. The Central Americans, who will participate in this month’s Gold Cup tournament while Argentina battle it out in Brazil, frustrated the home side initially.
But it was left to captain Messi to spark his side into action in their only warm-up match ahead of the tournament, expertly opening the scoring on 37 minutes before grabbing another just 96 seconds later. Lautaro Martinez, the Inter Milan forward, also scored twice, coming off substitutes bench at half-time to give coach Lionel Scaloni food for thought ahead of opening match with Colombia.
Scaloni, brought in after Jorge Sampaoli was sacked following a disastrous showing at the World Cup last summer, is aiming to build a younger team and end Argentina’s 26- year wait for a trophy. Indeed, in Scaloni’s Copa America squad only Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria remain from the one that was beaten by Germany in the World Cup final in Rio five years ago.