Ar­gentina boss hails record-breaker Messi

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

Ger­ardo Martino hailed record­breaker Lionel Messi as Ar­gentina pro­gressed to the Copa Amer­ica Cen­te­nario fi­nal with a rout of the United States.

Messi’s stun­ning free-kick in the 4-0 win made him his coun­try’s top goalscorer, his 55th goal tak­ing him clear of Gabriel Batis­tuta’s tally.

Messi added two as­sists in a fine dis­play, set­ting up Eze­quiel Lavezzi’s third-minute opener with a sub­lime dinked pass be­fore un­selfishly squar­ing for Gon­zalo Higuain to tap in his sec­ond late on as La Al­bice­leste ripped apart the host na­tion in Hous­ton.

Ar­gentina’s pro­gres­sion takes them to a third ma­jor fi­nal in as many years and presents an­other chance to win their first tro­phy since 1993.

“It makes me happy that Messi has sur­passed the pre­vi­ous record of Bati, but know­ing how he is, he is more happy for the team,” said Martino. “It is very good that the best player in the world is also the lead­ing scorer of the na­tional team.”

Ar­gentina were too good for the United States, who failed to have a shot on target dur­ing the game.

Martino was de­lighted with his side’s per­for­mance but knows a tougher task awaits in Sunday’s fi­nal against Chile or Colom­bia.

“The team was very strong and we are happy with the over­all per­for­mance. We dom­i­nated the game for 90 min­utes,” Martino said.

“To­day we pressed very well and we played very well. We need to do it against bet­ter teams, like Chile.”

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