HOUSTON: Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero struck two goals apiece in Argentina’s 7-0 romp against an out-of-sorts Bolivia while Mexico were held 3-3 by Trinidad & Tobago in friendlies in the United States on Friday. A largely second string side, with captain Lionel Messi coming on for the final 20 minutes, took to 12 the number of goals Copa America runners-up Argentina have put past Bolivia in two friendlies this year.
Ezequiel Lavezzi also scored two goals while Angel Correa Argentina struck Argentina’s seventh on his debut against a Bolivia side under new coach Julio Cesar Baldivieso, who barely had time to prepare them for the match in Houston.
Veteran Bolivia defender Ronald Raldes lent the squad $21,000 of his own money to cover the travel costs to the United States for the squad while the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) is in turmoil over corruption charges against leading officials, Bolivian media reported. FBF president Carlos Chavez signed the agreement for the match to go ahead from prison, where he has been awaiting trial since his arrest in July, before the organisation sacked him, elected new authorities and appointed Baldivieso last week. “I think the result was right given how seriously and intensely we played with good performances by the debutants and kids who have played little in the team,” Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said. “The game was useful over and above the problems our opponents had to put a team together and comes in handy at least to impose our gameplan,” he told Fox Sports.
MEXICO DRAW Top-ranked Argentina, warming up for the South American 2018 World Cup qualifiers, play again on Tuesday in Dallas where they meet Mexico, held 3-3 by Trinidad & Tobago in Salt Lake City. Mexico, under interim coach Ricardo Ferretti, are preparing to meet the United States in next month’s playoff for a berth at the 2017 Confederations Cup. Substitute Hector Herrera salvaged a draw when he equalised four minutes from time with a long range shot into the top corner. Striker Jozy Altidore scored twice in the second half, his first from the rebound of his penalty saved by Pedro Gallese, as Juergen Klinsmann’s U.S. side recovered from a goal down to beat Peru 2-1 in Washington. Uruguay, missing suspended strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, beat Panama 1-0 in Panama City with an 82nd minute goal by Cristhian Stuani in Panama City. Honduras won 3-0 against Venezuela, another team preparing for the South American World Cup qualifiers that kick off on Oct. 5. — Reuters