Sellout crowd of 64,420 sees Messi rating two targets in 3-0 Argentina win over Honduras

Argentina ahead Lionel Messi (10) seems to be to move the ball towards Honduras through the first half of their worldwide pleasant soccer match at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

MATIAS J. OCNER

[email protected]

It wasn’t precisely like being in Qatar for the World Cup this winter, however the sellout crowd of 64,420 followers that packed Hard Rock Stadium Friday evening for Argentina’s Cup warmup match towards Honduras received as near a World Cup expertise as you may get.

They even received to see celebrity Lionel Messi rating two targets in a 3-0 Argentina victory. Lautaro Martinez scored the opposite one. Messi performed the complete 90 minutes and was repeatedly serenaded with chants of “Messi! Messi! Messi!”

It was Argentina’s 34th consecutive win over the previous three years.

A sea of Argentina followers in gentle blue and white striped shirts, many sporting flags as capes, partied alongside teams of spirited Hondurans. Both units of followers went wild throughout participant introductions and belted out their nationwide anthems. Just a few Argentine followers confirmed up sporting conventional Qatari white thawbs (robes) and headgear, exhibiting they’re prepared for the World Cup.

Their group regarded prepared, too.

It was all Argentina from the opening whistle. Messi and his teammates performed like a World Cup favourite whereas Honduras, FIFA’s 80th ranked group, did its greatest to hold again and attempt to comprise the elite Argentine gamers, most of whom play in Europe’s prime leagues.

Argentina’s first purpose of the evening got here from Inter Milan ahead Lautaro Martinez within the 16th minute. Messi linked with Sevilla’s “Papu” Gomez, who discovered Martinez ready in entrance of the purpose.

Then got here the Messi present.

He transformed a left-footed penalty kick in first-half stoppage time after Honduran defender Marcelo Santos was known as for a foul within the field towards Argentina’s Giovani Lo Celso. Argentine led 2-0 at halftime.

Messi scored once more within the 69th minute on a left-footed chip shot from outdoors the field that looped over the pinnacle of Honduran goalkeeper Luis Lopez and delighted Argentine followers.

“Ole-Ole-Ole, Ole-Ole-Ola, Cada Dia Te Quiero Mas, Ooooh Argentina!” they sang.

Fans cheer earlier than the beginning of a global pleasant soccer match between Argentina and Honduras at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. MATIAS J. OCNER [email protected]

Honduras Coach Diego Vasquez mentioned his group was not completely happy or glad with the consequence, however he tried to place it in perspective.

“Obviously we knew the rival we were going to face, if they scored three goals in a final against Italy, it’s not that drastic or bad that they scored three on Honduras,” Vasquez mentioned. “They scored six goals against Estonia, so they scored fewer against us than one might expect. We have to accept the difference between a World Cup team like Argentina with so many prestigious players and our team. We will take the positives and keep growing.”

The coach mentioned the disparity between amenities in Honduras and Argentina is troublesome to beat.

“In Honduras we don’t have the facilities that Argentina has,” he mentioned. “That field we played on tonight we don’t have that type of field in our country. Argentina plays on that quality of pitch all the time. These are the areas we have to improve.”

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni had two new faces in his lineup. Geronimo Rulli began at goalkeeper and Gomez performed on the wing as an alternative of veteran Angel Di Maria. Gomez made a very good case for being included within the World Cup roster.

Nicolas Otamendi, Joaquin Correa, Marcos Acuna, and Paulo Dybala have been left off the gameday roster and can possible play towards Jamaica on Tuesday in New Jersey. Scaloni mentioned he determined to relaxation them as a result of he should handle gamers’ minutes.

Tottenham heart again Cristian Romero was lacking as a result of he simply acquired his visa to journey to the United States and was on his method to be part of the group.

“The game was what we expected,” Scaloni mentioned. “We played how we had to play. I am satisfied with that. The Argentine national team whenever we play, it’s a huge responsibility, but we need to enjoy it, the fans need to enjoy it. At the end of the day, it’s a game. The important thing is to play the way we want to play and for people to enjoy it. That is more important than the result.”

He added that Messi appears completely happy, and that’s vital to the group’s success.

“It’s important for Leo to be comfortable and enjoy playing football and I think he is enjoying it right now,” Scaloni mentioned.

Argentina will apply a couple of extra days at Inter Miami’s coaching facility in Fort Lauderdale earlier than heading to New Jersey. Several Inter Miami gamers attended the sport Friday, together with Leo Campana, Aime Mabika, Joevin Jones, and Robert Taylor.

Starting Lineups…

ARGENTINA: Geronimo Rulli (GK) — Nahuel Molina, German Pezzella, Lisandro Martinez, Nicolas Tagliafico — Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso — Lionel Messi (capt.), Lautaro Martinez, Alejandro ‘Papu Gomez.

HONDURAS: Luis Lopez (GK) — Marcelo Santos, Denil Maldonado, Carlos Melendez, Omar Elvir — Andy Najar, Deybi Flores, Hector Castellanos, Kervin Arriaga, Rigoberto Rivas — Romell Quioto (capt.)

Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman has coated 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, U.S. Open, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, NBA Playoffs, Super Bowls and has been the soccer author and University of Miami basketball beat author for 25 years. She was born in Frederick, Md., and grew up in Miami.

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