Argentina routs Iraq 4-0 despite Messi’s absence


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Argentina, without star striker Lionel Messi, thrashed Iraq 4-0 in a friendly on Thursday with goals from Lautaro Martinez, Roberto Pereyra, German Pezzella and Franco Cervi.

Inter Milan forward Martinez struck his first goal for his country to give Argentina the lead in the 18th minute at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd stadium.

Pereyra added the second goal in the 53rd before Pezzella and Cervi struck in the final eight minutes.

The friendly marked the return of goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who was forced out of the 2018 World Cup with a knee injury.

Coach Lionel Scaloni said last month that Barcelona forward Messi, 31, would not be called upon for Argentina’s brief tour of Saudi Arabia.

Scaloni added that he wanted to focus on blooding younger players.

Argentina next meets Brazil at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah on Tuesday.

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Source: Fox Sports

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