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Messi stars as Argentina thrash Nicaragua

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Messi stars as Argentina thrash Nicaragua kikiotolu

Lionel Messi was the star of the show, hitting a brace as Argentina beat Nicaragua 5-1 ahead of the 2019 Copa America.

Messi scored two goals in two minutes to lead Argentina past Nicaragua on Friday before Lionel Scaloni’s men fly out to Brazil for the Copa America.

The Central Americans, who will participate in this month’s Gold Cup tournament, initially frustrated the hosts with the score still goalless as it approached half-time.

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Having ended his international absence in March’s shock loss to Venezuela, Messi grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and sparked his side into action by netting the opener in the 37th minute.

After dancing his way past three defenders for the opener, the Argentina captain doubled his tally and their lead moments later to put the hosts firmly in the ascendancy.

Lautaro Martinez came off the bench and scored a second-half brace against the Central American visitors, while Roberto Pereyra added a fifth late on before Nicaragua’s Juan Barrera converted a 91st-minute penalty to put a blemish on Argentina’s performance.

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Watch the highlights below;

Nicaragua are ranked 129th in the world, and on this evidence will struggle during their maiden Copa America campaign in Brazil.

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