Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi has declared himself happy after his side beat world champions Spain (4-1) at El Monumental in Buenos Aires.
Argentina, rebuilding after FIFA World Cup coach Diego Maradona was let go, scored two early goals in the space of three minutes.
Lionel Messi, appearing marginally offside, chipped brilliantly over Pepe Reina from a through ball by Carlos Tevez, who minutes earlier shot just wide in Argentina’s first attack.
Gonzalo Higuain scored the second from a narrow angle after being put through by Tevez, again justifying coach Sergio Batista’s decision to field him in a three-man strike force, and rounding Reina.
The goalkeeper was at fault with the third just past the half hour. He slipped going to kick a back pass by Alvaro Arbeloa and the busy Tevez was rewarded for a trademark chase by just beating Reina to the ball to scoop it in close to the near post.
Fernando Llorente pulled one back from fellow substitute Pedro’s square ball into the middle of the box with six minutes remaining before Serio Aguero headed a stoppage-time fourth for Argentina.
The 23-year-old Lionel Messi said it was important to reconnect with the Argentina fans following the disappointment of the World Cup in South Africa and said now is the time to look to the future.
“The truth is that beating the world champion makes you happy. We suffered a lot of bitterness and to reconnect with the fans in this game was very nice. I’m happy for our victory,” he said, as quoted by AS.
“There wasn’t much in it. This team moves the ball well from side to side, but we used it quickly and did things right from the beginning. After getting it we tried to hold it. It was a complete game. Now we must move on.”
“Argentina played very well, we have to recognise that,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told a news conference.
“It’s beneficial to the squad to know how to play the weak teams like Liechtenstein and also the big ones.”
“I think Argentina had a lot of merit in preventing (the crowd) from seeing the Spain we saw in the World Cup,” his oppositite number Batista said.
Spain, who started with three second string players in the back four, were not allowed to settle comfortably into the close passing game that helped them win the World Cup in South Africa in July.
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