Argentina versus Albania - International Friendly review: Lionel Messi leads Argentina to victory
Argentina played Albania in a friendly encounter at the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires as Sergio Batista put out a first choice Argentinean starting eleven in preparation of his team’s upcoming Copa
America commitments. Argentina lined up with Sergio Romero in goal. The veteran goalkeeper was assisted by a four man defence which included the likes of Marcos Alberto Rojo and Javier Zanetti in wing back positions.
In central defence, Gabriel Milito and Nicolas Burdisso were tasked with keeping a clean sheet. In the midfield region, Argentina used a three man system which saw Rodrigo Biglia being complimented by the defensive presence of
Ever Banega and Javier Mascherano. Up front, Lionel Messi spearheaded the Argentinean attack with Angel Di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi in close attendance. On the other hand, Albania went with a five man midfield in order to out stifle the impressive Argentinean
The match started off with Argentina on the front foot. Their three man midfield proved to be too much for Albania in the 6th minute when Lionel Messi drew two defenders towards himself and then slipped a wonderfully
timed through ball for Lavezzi. The experienced Argentinean striker made no mistake from inside the Albanian penalty area as he netted his team’s first goal of the encounter. In the 29th minute, Elis Bakaj went into the referee’s book for a late
tackle on Messi near the half way line.
Just before the half time whistle, Argentina cemented their lead as Di Maria played in Lionel Messi. The FIFA World Player of the Year didn’t hesitate to power the ball past the Albanian goalkeeper as Argentina added another goal
to their advantage. At the start of the second half, Argentina made a host of changes as Rodrigo Biglia was replaced by Fernando Gago, Di Maria was replaced by Carlos Tevez and Alberto Rojo was replaced by Pablo Zabaleta. Albania opted to make a substitution
of their own as well at the half time break as Emiljano Vila was taken off the field to be replaced by Jahmir Hyka.
At the 61st minute mark, Argentina took off Lavezzi and he was replaced by the Atletico Madrid target-man Sergio Kun Aguero. In the 75th minute Aguero made an instant impact as he netted Argentina’s third
goal of the night. However this wasn’t the end of the goal scoring fiesta in Buenos Aires as Carlos Tevez completed the rout for Argentina but claiming his first and Argentina’s fourth goal of the encounter. Consequently, Argentina ended up as deserving winners
on the night and with a good morale boosting victory before their Copa America campaign.
Final score: Argentina 4 – 0 Albania