Messi warms up with hat-trick

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 May 2018 12:14:29



LIONEL Messi warmed up for next month’s FIFA World Cup with a hat-trick as he inspired Argentina to a morale-boosting 4-0 win over Haiti here.Messi scored a quickfire second-half double (58th and 68th minutes) to add to a first-half (17th minute) penalty, before setting up substitute Sergio Aguero (69th) as Jorge Sampaoli’s side hammered the Caribbean minnows in their final phase of preparations for the showpiece event. With this hat-trick, the FC Barcelona talisman took his international tally to 64 goals in 124 appearances.The Albicelestes, who are two-time world champions, had struggled throughout the qualifying campaign but the thoroughly dominating display here should boost their confidence even though the win came against a side that has not qualified for the World Cup.

Haiti could not even register a shot at the goal in the whole match.It was a night of celebration for another Barcelona star as Javier Mascherano joined Javier Zanetti as Argentina’s most capped player with 143 international appearances.“I have no doubt that we are going to grow, we have time, this team is going to take shape”.We have been working hard on the physical, I think we have a nice opportunity to try again, we are going to be very excited, as always,” Messi said after the match.Peru beat Scotland in WC friendly


PERU defeated Scotland 2-0 in an international friendly ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, stretching their undefeated streak to 13 games.In the Estadio Nacional here crammed with about 45,000 football fans on Tuesday night, Peru demonstrated rhythm and strength against a disciplined but inferior Scotland, with goals from Christian Cueva and Jefferson Farfan, reports EFE news agency.The team coached by Ricardo Gareca was formidable enough despite the absence of captain and striker, Paolo Guerrero, and was armed with good offensive strategy.The Peruvians had their first chance to score a goal at 5 minutes, with a free kick by Cueva that was sent to the corner by Scottish goalkeeper Jordan Archer.From that moment on, it was 20 minutes of absolute dominance by the home team who waited for the right moment to break through the rigid defensive scheme of the Scots.Panama, Northern Ireland play draw


AMID massive support from the public, mostly dressed in red, the Panamanian national football team played out a 0-0 stalemate against Northern Ireland in an international friendly here.In a festive atmosphere at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium here on Tuesday night, the home team played well, giving a glimpse of what can be expected from the Central Americans at the 2018 Russia World Cup, reports EFE. Seventeen minutes into the game, as the Panamanians sought the elusive goal Edgar Joel Barcenas did a header which hit the crossbar and failed to translate into a score.A lost ball from the Panamanian midfielder put the team at risk when at 29 minutes came a header from Northern Ireland’s Josh Magennis, but which landed in the hands of Panamanian goalkeeper Jose Calderon.

Between the 34th and 40th minutes the game fell into a rut with strong legwork in the midfield.In the 41st minute, the lethargy appeared to be broken when Barcenas made a cross from the right that fell for Jose Rodriguez, whose shot was saved by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Trevor Carson.The second half started slow with twists and turns but lacked a clear dominator in the field.A clear move by Ricardo Avila at 46 minutes followed an offside one by Blas Perez at in the 54th minute, enraging fans in the stadium.
Between the 55th and 61st minutes, the game slowed down again and in the 81st minute, Roman Torres made a header but the ball went over the goalpost.