Argentina maintained their unbeaten start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, cruising to a 3-1 victory at 10-man Venezuela on Thursday night.
In his first match for his country since moving to Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi struggled to stamp his authority on the match in Caracas, but it mattered little.
Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring in first half injury time after Venezuela had been reduced to 10 men by Adrian Martinez’s red card for a reckless challenge on Messi.
Argentina did not impress but the extra man told in the final quarter when substitutes Joaquin Correa and Angel Correa broke through.
Venezuela did not go home empty handed, though, as Yeferson Soteldo scored a cheeky “Panenka” penalty deep into injury time at the end of the game.
Ahead of leaders Brazil’s trip to Chile, Argentina are three points off the top of the single CONMEBOL qualifying group.
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