x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Lionel Messi and Argentina warming up nicely for Copa America

Messi sets up two and scores another, while Man City's Carlos Teves is also on the scoresheet in their 4-0 friendly win against Albania.

Lionel Messi weaves his way through Albania's defence during Argentina's 4-0 friendly win at the Monumental.
Lionel Messi weaves his way through Albania's defence during Argentina's 4-0 friendly win at the Monumental.

Argentina 4 // Albania 0

BUENOS AIRES // Lionel Messi laid on two goals and scored one in between as Argentina romped to a 4-0 win over Albania at the Monumental yesterday in their last warm-up for next month's Copa America.

Ezequiel Lavezzi, the Napoli striker, put the Copa hosts ahead in the fifth minute with a shot from the right over goalkeeper Arjan Beqaj from a perfect Messi pass.

Argentina, completely in control, went two up two minutes before half time, Lavezzi returning the compliment to Messi.

Lavezzi laid the ball off to the middle where Messi controlled it with his right foot, shifted his weight across to the left and hit a low left-footed shot inside the base of Beqaj's left-hand post.

Sergio Aguero, the substitute striker, scored the third in the 74th minute shortly after coming on for Lavezzi.

Messi, on the right, fed another sublime pass with the outside of his left foot and Aguero rounded Albania's substitute keeper Isli Hidi to slot home from a tight angle.

Aguero laid on the last goal for fellow substitute Carlos Tevez in the final minute. Messi drew three defenders as he raced into the box leaving Aguero to pass to the right where Tevez scored with a low shot.

Albania did not create a single testing chance, goalkeeper Sergio Romero going down just once to stop an easy early effort.

"It was not as hard as it's going to be in the Copa [America] but it's useful to get our movements right," Tevez told Argentine TV.

"These kind of matches help us to get confidence and get to know each other better," added Lavezzi.

The Copa America, which Argentina have not won since 1993, kicks off on July 1 when the hosts play Bolivia in La Plata in their Group A opener. The final is scheduled for the Monumental on July 24.