Argentina shows no sign of missing Messi in 3-1 win against Costa Rica

The Scaloneta fell behind at the start but managed to recover and earn a comfortable victory

Argentina bagged a 3-1 win over Costa Rica in a friendly game played on Tuesday at the Coliseum Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Di Maria, Mac Allister, and Martinez scored for Argentina, while Ugalde gave Costa Rica it ‘s only goal. 

Messi’s absence due to an injury and the starting debut of Alejandro Garnacho — Manchester United’s gem — and Walter Benitez — goalkeeper for Dutch team PSV — were key to a match that previewed a new Argentine team with young players, known as the europibes.

The Albiceleste displayed a fast-paced game with many goal possibilities and shot attempts. However, in the first half, the team struggled with accuracy on the cross passes and struggled to filter through the defense. Navas was also key in stifling Argentina’s attempts, as he covered great shots like a header from Otamendi and a free kick by Di Maria. 

Despite being outplayed, it was Costa Rica that managed to score first through Manfred Ugarte. He started the sequence by passing over Otamendi and then giving the ball to Zamora, who made a shot on goal. Although it was parried by Benitez, the ball landed on Ugarte’s feet, leading him to score the first goal in the 34th minute. 

The minutes until the end of the first half were hectic, with both sides in full attack-mode. Still, playmaking in this part of the game was rash and lacked precision, keeping the scoreline unaltered. 

La Scaloneta came out sharper in the second half. Seven minutes in, the referee conceded Argentina a free kick. With no Messi on the pitch, the responsibility fell to Angel Fideo Di Maria. The shot passed Navas in the upper right corner, giving Argentina its first goal to tie the game. 

The Albiceleste scored again in the 56th minute. Alexis Mac Allister headed a ricocheted ball and gave his team a 2-1 lead. 

After the second goal, Argentina’s dominance grew. Scaloni made some key substitutions, like introducing Paredes, Martinez, and De Paul. 

The changes preceded the third’s goal playmaking. De Paul filtered a pass from the left to Lautaro Martinez, who scored a goal to finally end his scoring drought with the Argentine national team. El Toro had not scored since September 2022. 

After the difference reached 3-1 the pace of the game toned down. Costa Rica seemed to become undone and Argentina, with more confidence in its results, became less aggressive.

This game concludes Argentina’s friendlies in this international break. The next game is against Guatemala on June 13, prior to the start of the Copa América on June 20.


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