Messi Scores Hat-trick Against Panama

The Kurdish Globe - - SPORTS -

Lionel Messi came off the bench to score a hat-trick in just 18 min­utes as Ar­gentina ham­mered Panama 5-0 and eased into the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Copa Amer­ica.

Ar­gentina were 1-0 up at half-time thanks to a Ni­co­las Ota­mendi goal af­ter just six min­utes.

Panama lost Ani­bal Godoy to a red card af­ter half an hour but the Cen­tral Amer­i­cans held on un­til Messi, who missed Ar­gentina's open­ing win against Chile with a sore back, re­placed Au­gusto Fer­nan­dez af­ter 61 min­utes.

The Barcelona for­ward started gin­gerly but grabbed Ar­gentina's sec­ond in the 68th minute by steer­ing home a left foot shot af­ter a re­bound fell to him in the Panama box.

He scored a gor­geous sec­ond with a 25-yard free kick just nine min­utes later and then with some fancy foot­work in the box gave him­self enough space to slot home his third and Ar­gentina's fourth in the 86th minute.

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