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Copa America 2016: Messi Equals Batistuta’s 54-Goal Record As Argentina Beat Venezuela 4-1

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Two early goals from Higuain followed by one each from Messi and Lamela in the 2nd half sealed Argentina’s spot in the semi-finals as they beat Venezuela 4-1 in the 2016 Copa America Centenario third quarter-final clash at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough on 18 June, Saturday. Rondon pulled one back for Venezuela in the 2nd half but it was not enough to stop the men in blue.

Argentina dominated the game right from the kick-off with Banega and Lionel Messi taking the charge down the wings. Venezuela had a tough time chasing the ball as the men in blue dominated the possession.


Messi showed early sparks and almost opened the account for Argentina in the 4th minute. Messi picked the ball in the penalty area launched a curler which went just wide of the far post.

Argentina maintained the pressure in the midfield and Gonalo Higuain scored the opener for Argentina in the 8th minute from a sliding effort to glide the ball past the goalkeeper. Messi whipped in a spectacular cross over the top to pick Higuain in the run. Higuain slided in to launch a first-time strike to beat the Hernandez at the far post.

Argentina pushed the tempo further and worked the ball all over the pitch. They dominated down the middle chipping in clinical crosses down the flanks and decisive long balls through the middle to pick Higuain and Messi up front on several occasions.

The Venezuela back-line crumbled under the pressure as Higuain scored his second in the 28th minute. Higuain pounced on the end of a Salomon Rondon back-pass and rushed forward and rounded off the Venezuela goalkeeper before tapping in an easy finish into the empty net.

Argentina slowed down the tempo and Venezuela looked to break the shackles in the last quarter of the first half but Rondon’s left footed shot from outside the box was saved by Romero in the 35th minute.

Venezuela pushed the tempo and almost pulled one back in the 39th minute. Rondon jumped over Otamendi to meet Guerra’s delivery from corner and launced a header towards goal but he was unlucky as the ball hit the left post.

Venezuela maintained the pressure in the dying minutes of the first half but a sensational save from Romero denied Feltscher’s effort on goal. Feltscher launched a venomous strike from distance which took a deflection and sprung over the head of Romero but the Argentina goalkeeper managed to tip it over the bar.

Venezuela won a penalty in the 42nd minute as Romero charged at the feet of Martinez to knock him down. Seijas took the spot kick but he failed to capitalise on a great opportunity as his cheeky chip down the middle went straight into the hands of Romero.

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Messi increased the lead in the 60th minute to equal Gabriel Batistuta’s 54-goal record for Argentina. The Venezuela defense fumbled to give away a ball in the danger area which finds Messi who played a brilliant one-two with Gaitan before nudging the ball through the legs of Hernandez to the bottom right corner.

Venezuela responded well as Rondon pulled one back with a spectacular header in the 70th minute. Rondon jumped in the air to get on to the end of Guerra’s cross before launching a brilliant header past the keeper at the to the bottom right corner.

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Lamela came up with an immediate response as he scored the fourth for Argentina in the 71st minute to put the game to bed. Lamela got on the end of a perfect pass from Messi before rolling in a sliding effort towards the bottom right corner to beat the goalkeeper.

Argentina kept on searching for a fifth in the dying minutes and they threw more bodies forward but the Venezuela back-line were successful in preventing further humiliation.

Anirban Das
Anirban Das's journey to Delhi via Kolkata involves football, music, curiosity (which one day can kill the cat) and food. Following global football opens up an infinite space within him in both the conscious and subconscious self, away from the din and bustle of the madding crowd. Supports Manchester United & Barcelona

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