WATCH: Lionel Messi Scores Wonder-Goals As Argentina’s Streak Continues With Jamaica Rout
In a World Cup preliminaries friendly on Tuesday in New Jersey, Argentina defeated Jamaica 3-0, with two goals from Lionel Messi to celebrate his 100th international triumph and move closer to Italy’s record-breaking unbeaten run.
After entering the game at the Red Bull Arena as a replacement in the second half, superstar PSG forward Messi increased his total number of goals for his country to 90 in 164 appearances.
Messi’s goals capped a convincing victory for the South Americans, who have gone 35 games without a loss in a streak that began in 2019. Italy’s 37-game unbeaten streak from 2018 to 2012, which is the current world record, is just two games away.
Messi, who also scored twice in a victory against Honduras in a friendly on Friday in Miami, wowed the crowd with an exhilarating cameo after substituting for Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan in the 56th minute.
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In the 86th minute, he scored his first goal of the game, racing forward and slipping a shot under Andre Blake of Jamaica.
The 35-year-old seven-time Ballon d’Or winner then produced an impish second goal, craftily curling a low shot underneath the Jamaican wall into the bottom corner from a free-kick.
The appearance of Messi troubled the fans. On three separate times, fans ran onto the pitch to get a closer look at the Argentine icon.
Before being carried to the floor by security, one shirtless fan attempted to get Messi to autograph his back.
Messi’s late double capped another solid performance by Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina, who are quickly emerging as one of the favorites to win the World Cup in Qatar in November.
A one-sided first half had been controlled by the Argentinians, who took the lead on minute 13 when Martinez jinked past Damion Lowe of Jamaica and cut back for Julian Alvarez of Manchester City, who tucked away a low finish from close range.
Soon after, Alvarez almost got a second but curled his attempt just wide.
Midfielder Guido Rodriguez also came close, but his volley over the crossbar from the back post was off target.
In the 33rd minute, Giovani Lo Celso also came close to scoring with a long-range shot that missed the top corner.