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SPORTS | 27-09-2022 23:05

Messi the star attraction as Argentina see off Jamaica

Paris St Germain star and national team captain Lionel Messi scored twice – and had to evade plenty of pitch-invaders – as Argentina saw off Jamaica 3-0 in the Albiceleste's last match before Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Lionel Messi was the star attraction in New Jersey on Tuesday night, with the 35-year-old seven-time Ballon D’Or winner scoring two goals despite playing less than 45 minutes of Argentina's 3-0 win over Jamaica.

The Albiceleste captain, who began the evening on the bench, came on as a substitute early in the second half to the delight of supporters, scored twice (once from a free kick) and even had to evade at least three rounds of pitch invaders who interrupted proceedings to try and meet their hero.

The match, Argentina's last before before the Qatar 2022 World Cup gets underway, took place at the the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Manchester City forward Julián Álvarez opened the scoring for the Albiceleste after 12 minutes following good work by Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martínez. Argentina went in 1-0 at half-time after dominating the ball against a spirited Jamaica side, with both sides pressing at pace.

Messi entered the field with just over half an hour on the clock and after taking some time to get into the game, he excelled in the final 15 minutes, scoring a spectacular brace.

He bagged his first of the night in the 86th minute, darting forward before caressing a shot into the bottom corner past Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake. Messi then produced an impish second goal, craftily curling a low shot underneath the Jamaican wall into the bottom corner from a free-kick.

With this latest win over the Reggae Boyz, Argentina have now extended their unbeaten run since mid-2019 to 35 matches (24 wins and 11 draws).

Messi, meanwhile, has now bagged 100 wins as a player with the national team, taking his international goals tally to 90 in 164 appearances in the process.

The late double crowned another assured performance from Lionel Scaloni's side, who are rapidly emerging as one of the favourites for the World Cup in Qatar in November.

 

– TIMES/AFP

 

 

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