Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Messi rested as Argentina subjugate El Salvador 2-0


Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi, right, battles for the ball with El Salvador’s Alexander Larin in their international friendly in Landover, Maryland, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Argentina rested Lionel Messi to let him recover from a sore foot, but still had too much attacking firepower for El Salvador on Saturday as they ran out 2-0 winners in an international friendly in Landover, Maryland.

Coach Gerardo Martino fielded a side led by Angel di Maria that included only three others from the 2014 World Cup final, testing a two-pronged attack in Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain.

Tevez is getting another shot at the Copa America in Chile in June after being overlooked since Argentina exited in the quarter-finals of the 2011 tournament they hosted and missing last year’s World Cup.

El Salvador defended en masse and never got near Argentina goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman. It took nearly an hour to break the deadlock, Ever Banega finding the net through a deflected shot from outside the penalty area.

Substitute Federico Mancuello produced the highlight of the match at FedEx Field two minutes from time when he curled a free-kick into the top corner from a tight angle.

Messi hopes to lead his side in a more serious Copa America warmup tomorrow in New Jersey against Ecuador, who lost 1-0 to Mexico in Los Angeles.

Striker Javier Hernandez, much like Falcao for Colombia on Thursday last week, jumped at the chance to start a match after seeing limited action with his club and responded by scoring Mexico’s 14th-minute winner at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Hernandez stole the ball from a defender, skipped past another and curled his shot in off the far post for his 39th goal for Mexico.

Goalkeeper Jesus Corona saved a penalty from Miller Bolanos in the 72nd minute for Mexico, who meet Paraguay in Kansas City tomorrow.

Mexico are preparing for two tournaments, the Copa America from June 11 to July 4 and the Gold Cup in the US, which kicks off on July 7.

Ecuador, the only South American team not to progress beyond the group stage at the World Cup finals in Brazil, are rebuilding under new Argentine coach Gustavo Quinteros, who was in charge for the first time on Saturday.

Copa holders Uruguay, having to play without the suspended Luis Suarez, had a 1-0 win over Morocco in Agadir, scoring through an Edinson Cavani penalty.

Colombia, with Falcao in fine form after scoring twice in a 6-0 rout of Bahrain, visit Kuwait today.

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