World champion Argentina started with Messi’s goal Lionel Messi-Rodrigo de Paula entered the field for the first time after celebrating the World Cup victory. The first assignment was against Panama, who were 59 places behind in the ranking. It was expected that the world champions would blow away such opponents at home. However, the Albiceleste could not show even a drop in the first 77 minutes of the match.
At the end of the match, however, Messi’s team turned around. Tiago Almada took the lead in the 78th minute and Messi’s goal in the 89th minute confirmed the victory for Argentina. And with that victory, the world champion Argentina started a new journey.
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World champions Argentina beat Panama 2-0 in an international friendly at El Monumental Stadium on Friday (March 24).
Argentina has played football at home since the beginning. From ball possession to shots on goal, the Argentines were far ahead of Panama. However, the failure of the forwards was not the only goal.
Rodrigo de Paul got the chance to give the hosts the lead in the second minute of the match. But he did not get a chance to take a shot as the Panamanian defender cleared the ball in front of the goal. In the next minute, Lionel Messi took the first on-target shot for Argentina. However, Panama goalkeeper Jose Guerra had no difficulty in taking his shot with his gloves.
Messi’s shot in the ninth minute was blocked by defenders and missed the target. In the 15th minute, the referee whistled for a foul when Jose Murillo and Kevin Galvan tackled Messi at the same time just outside the D-box. Messi himself came to take the free-kick. His shot from about 25 meters out bounced off the near post.
Panama took the first shot on goal in the 23rd minute. But it was not along the target. In the next minute, Alexis McAllister failed to get the ball in front of the goal after being blocked by Jose Guerra. After 6 minutes, Angel Di Maria’s powerful shot went over the bar.
Messi got a golden opportunity to give the team the lead in the 37th minute. However, he failed to take a shot past a Panamanian defender even though he got the ball unguarded in the D-box. He once again failed to find the target when he entered the D-box in the 43rd minute. In the next minute, Enzo Fernandez took a powerful shot from outside the D-box. His superb shot was saved by Jose Guerra as he swooped to the right. At the end of the first half, Messi had to be content with a goalless draw.
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Argentina’s edge of attack did not decrease in the second half. In the 52nd minute, Guerra blocked Messi’s free kick. Messi attacked again in 56 minutes. This time, the magician’s left foot shot was blocked by the Panama goalkeeper.
Even then, the world champions did not reduce the edge of attack. However, Panama’s defense was returning Messi and Di Maria’s attacks one after another. Thiego Almada finally cut Gero. The 21-year-old left-footed shot from Leonardo Paredes’ extended ball into the net.
After getting the goal, Argentina became more irresistible. In the 82nd minute, Messi’s terrible shot was turned away by the Panama goalkeeper. But it did not last. Messi scored the goal. In the 89th minute of the match, Messi’s curved shot from a free-kick went right into the net.
Messi became the owner of a unique record with this goal. This is the superstar’s 800th goal for the national team and club football. Messi’s total goals in the national team are now 99. One of the best footballers of the time will touch the milestone of 100 goals only once he can put the ball in the net.
There was no goal for the rest of the match. After the 2-0 victory, the Argentines also made a big celebration. After winning the match, Argentina Football Association President Claudio Tapia handed over the World Cup to the national team.