Lionel Messi netted his 100th international goal in the 20th minute, before a first-half demolition including a treble from the PSG star.
Lionel Messi scored his 100th international goal before capping his performance with a first-half hat-trick as Argentina routed Curacao 7-0 during Tuesday’s friendly in Santiago del Estero.
Messi went into the game with 99 international goals but he didn’t have to wait long to make it three, scoring the opener in the 20th minute as the world champions raced to a 5-0 half-time lead.
The Argentina captain played the full 90 minutes, scoring three goals in 17 devastating first-half minutes, while also laying on an assist for Enzo Fernandez’s towering strike amid the flurry.
Messi was denied early on by a sharp save from Curacao goalkeeper Eloy Room, but soon after Giovani Lo Celso found him in space inside the box, he instructed him to skip two defenders and fire a low right-footed shot for his 100th Argentina goal.
Nicolas Gonzalez added a second in the 23rd minute when he outpaced Roomo and headed home from a corner before setting up Messi’s second in the 33rd minute with a neat left-footed finish.
Two minutes later, Messi picked up the ball and produced a clever pass for Fernandez to head home, with the Paris Saint-Germain star wrapping up his hat-trick when he pounced on Lo Celso’s lofted pass to coolly convert after two touches. .
Room brilliantly denied Lautaro Martinez twice at the start of the second half, while Leandro Bacuna’s 63rd-minute free-kick from the edge of the box blew Curacao’s best chance over the bar.
Substitute Angel Di Maria added the sixth goal in the 78th minute from a penalty kick after a pass from Cuco Martina, Gonzalo Montiel scored another goal in the 88th minute from Paulo Dybala’s penalty.