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SPORTS | 11-09-2019 08:29

Martínez steals show with hat-trick as Argentina thrash Mexico 4-0

Inter Milan striker bags three at the Alamodome to give Albiceleste a deserved win over a lacklustre Mexico team in international friendly.

Lautaro Martínez fired a 22-minute hat-trick as Argentina thrashed Mexico 4-0 in a friendly international in San Antonio on Tuesday.

Inter Milan striker Martínez scored in the 17th, 22nd and 39th minutes at the Alamodome in Los Angeles to give the Albiceleste a deserved win over a lacklustre Mexico team.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Leandro Paredes scored Argentina's other goal from the penalty spot after 33 minutes as the national side romped into a 4-0 lead at half-ime.

But it was the 22-year-old Martínez who grabbed the headlines with a clinical exhibition of finishing which took his international goals tally to nine in 13 appearances.

Martínez opened the scoring in the 17th minute, picking the ball up deep in Mexican territory before twisting and turning past several defenders and firing low past Guillermo Ochoa.

Martínez bagged his second five minutes later, with River Plate's Exequiel Palacios punishing sloppy play in the Mexican defence to send the Inter Milan striker through on goal to finish for 2-0.

A disastrous start for Mexico got worse shortly after the half hour mark when Carlos Salcedo was adjudged to have handled in the area to concede a penalty. Paredes duly stepped up to convert to give Argentina a 3-0 lead.

Martínez completed his hat-trick six minutes from half-time, again capitalising on lackadaisical Mexican defending to dart in and shoot past Ochoa.

The Albiceleste were without several first choice regulars, with Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero and Ángel Di María all missing from their two-game international tour of North America.

Scaloni reaction

National team coach Lionel Scaloni said post-match that he was delighted with the performance.

"The result is secondary. We value the group feeling strong," Scaloni told reporters at a press conference. "We want to have a competitive national team, so that rivals respect us."

"We analyzed Mexico a lot and we had the courage to do what we had to do in this game," said the Albiceleste coach.

– AFP

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