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Argentina 3-0 Honduras: Martinez and Messi strike in first half of friendly win

By Liam Phillips
Lionel Messi

Buenous Aires, September 24: Argentina were too good in their dominant 3-0 friendly win against Honduras on Friday, with two goals and an assist from Lionel Messi in a starring performance.

Messi set up a goal and finished a penalty in an excellent first half, before capping off the outing with a long-range chip to capitalise on a defensive mistake.

Julian Alvarez and Giovani Lo Celso also manufactured openings as Argentina racked up 17 shots to Honduras' two, but ultimately this would be the Messi show.

Argentina opened the scoring in the 16th minute, when Messi delivered a spectacular ball from the centre of the park to find Papu Gomez on his run into the box from the left wing, giving him the chance to roll a simple squaring pass to Lautaro Martinez in the six-yard box for a tap-in.

Messi's creativity was on full display again to create the second goal, with an almost identical pass finding Lo Celso breaking into the box from the left wing, before the desperate Honduran defence pulled him down for a penalty.

Messi stepped up to the spot himself and made no mistake, calmly sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and rolling the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Argentina took their foot off the pedal in the second half, but when a mistake in defence saw a loose ball fall for Messi just outside the edge of the penalty area, with no defender between him and the goal, he caught everyone off guard with an audacious and picture-perfect first-time chip over Luis Lopez's head.

What does it mean? Unbeatable Argentina's streak remains intact

With the win, Argentina remain undefeated in their 34 matches since last losing to Brazil in the Copa America semi-final back in 2019. They are three matches away from tying Italy for the longest international unbeaten streak – a mark they set just last year.

Messi magic at the centre of Argentinian attack

The Paris Saint-Germain star led his team in nearly every important statistical category, including shots on target (three), touches in opposition box (nine), crosses (three) and successful dribbles (two).

His ability to pick out smart runs from the left wing behind the defence was directly responsible for both of the first two goals, and his chip finish for the third was sublime.

Lonely day up top for Quioto

Honduras striker Romell Quioto had very little supply all day as his side finished with 33 per cent possession, but he did himself no favours.

Of his four passes in the final-third, only one found a teammate, and he finished with no shots and no chances created before being subbed off in the 83rd minute.

What's next?

Argentina are scheduled to take on Jamaica in their next friendly on Tuesday in what will be their last match before jetting off to Qatar. Honduras will host Guatemala, also on Tuesday.

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Story first published: Saturday, September 24, 2022, 8:34 [IST]
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