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Jun 29, 2024 10:11 pm

Lautaro Martinez scores twice vs. Peru as Argentina wins Group A

argentina, peru

Argentina, without Lionel Messi, got two goals from Lautaro Martinez to defeat Peru 2-0 in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Saturday to win Group A at Copa America.

Martinez started for the first time in the tourney and scored for the third straight match — the first two came as a substitute in the 88th minute — in the 47th and 86th minutes.

Angel Di Maria set him up on the first score with a through ball that allowed Martinez to get to take it in stride before scoring from the center of the box. It was the sixth career Copa America assist for Di Maria.

Argentina missed an opportunity to increase the lead in the 72nd minute when Leandro Paredes, taking the penalty in the place of Messi, powered the attempt off the right post after Jesus Castillo was called for a handball.

But Martinez put the match away with his ninth goal in 13 Copa America matches as Argentina won all three matches.

Peru’s Franco Zanelatto hit the left post with a header in the 89th minute.

Messi and several other starters did not play because Argentina, defending champions of 2021 Copa America and the 2022 World Cup, had already qualified for the quarterfinals with six points coming in.

Messi is recovering from an upper thigh injury sustained in the match against Chile on Tuesday. Messi, who turned 37 on Monday, is eyeing a return for the next match on Thursday in Houston against the second-place finisher in Group B which will be decided on Sunday between Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.

Argentina was dominant everywhere in the first half but on the scoreboard, owning 79.3 percent possession and advantages in shots (6-1) and on target (3-0) but Pedro Gallese bailed out the Peruvians.

His best save came in the 26th minute on a well-struck free kick by Parades that was targeted for the upper left corner.

Another Lionel, coach Lionel Scaloni, was absent for Argentina. He was suspended for the match and fined because his team was late coming out for the second half in the two previous matches.

–Field Level Media

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