Di Maria scores, Messi returns in Argentina’s Copa America warm-up win over Ecuador

Angel de Maria hit as Lionel Messi Argentina returned to international action for the first time in six months with a 1-0 win over Ecuador in a Copa America warm-up match at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday.

Messi was substituted for Di Maria in the 56th minute and was sidelined for the first half.

A right hamstring injury kept the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner and Inter Miami star out of Argentina’s previous two Copa America warm-up matches against El Salvador and Costa Rica in March.

“With Leo [Messi], there is no need to risk him. Not only with him, but others like it [Nicolas] Odamondi did not play. Angel [Di María] Only played a few minutes, Julian [Alvarez] and Lautaro [Martinez] Same”, said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni.

„We want to take care of these players and let them come to the tournament in the best conditions”.

With Messi watching from the bench, Di Maria headed Christian Romero’s reverse pass into the net in the 40th minute.

„We know the Copa America will be complicated and you can see it in the game today. The players will get into it and there will be tough games,” Di Maria told TyC Sports. „I think today is a good game to prove how we are. I think we are on a good track.”

Di María’s goal was his second in a row in international competition, having also scored against Costa Rica on 26 March. With the 31st goal of his Argentina career, the 36-year-old midfielder is tied for fifth most goals with Gonzalo Higuain. Diego Maradona is 4th on the leaderboard, four goals short of the country’s all-time record.

READ  IPL Final: Ravindra Jadeja clinch Chennai Super Kings' fifth title with last-ball win over Gujarat Titans | Cricket News

Before opening the tournament’s group stage against Canada on June 20, Scaloni’s team will wrap up their pre-Copa America slate with a friendly against Guatemala on Friday in Washington DC.

„We have to come together, compete, add minutes and feel the feeling of wearing that jersey again. We are following that before the Copa America and it will be very difficult,” added Scaloni.

Ecuador plays two friendlies Bolivia Wednesday and Honduras on June 16 before making their Copa America debut against Venezuela on June 22.

ESPN’s Lizzy Becherano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *