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Messi Nets Hat-Trick Sends Argentina Into Copa Last Eight


Lionel Messi came off the bench to net a hat-trick, as Argentina thumped Panama 5-0 to secure their spot in the Copa America quarterfinals.

The FC Barcelona superstar started on the bench along with Manchester City striker, Sergio Aguero.

The Argentines netted the opening goal after just seven minutes as Nicolas Otamendi sent a glancing header past Penedo, after getting on the end of Angel Di Maria's free-kick.

Panama were reduced to 10 men after 30 minutes when Aníbal Godoy picked up his second bookable offence and was given an early shower.

Argentina did suffer a blow just before the break, as Di Maria had to be substituted due to a muscle injury. He was replaced by Erik Lamela.

Messi was introduce on the hour mark, and made an immediate impact, doubling Argentina's lead in the 68th minute who calmly slotted home from close range.

The Barcelona superstar then got his second and Argentina's third in the 78th minute, as he curled home a fine free-kick inside the near post leaving Penedo with no chance.

Messi completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute, as the Argentine captain showed some neat footwork in the box, before curling the ball beyond Penedo.

Aguero rounded off the rout for Argentina three minutes later. Messi played a fine pass to Marcos Rojo, who in turn teed up the Man City striker for the simple finish.
Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Staff writter

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