Finally, Messi plays ‘a tremendous match’

2011-07-12 09:04

Cordoba, Argentina – Lionel Messi finally played up to expectations yesterday, right in time to help Argentina into the quarterfinals of the Copa America.

After two disappointing matches, Messi produced a great performance to lead Argentina to a 3-0 win over Costa Rica, just when it seemed the host nation was susceptible to a humiliating group-stage exit.

He set up two goals and played at the vaunted level he so often displays with his club Barcelona but which sometimes has eluded him on the international stage with Argentina.

The crowd packing the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes loudly supported the playmaker, chanting “Ole, ole, ole, ole... Messi, Messi.” That was a marked contrast to some of the boos and whistles that accompanied the team’s in its opening two games; something Messi appreciated.

“I want to thank the Cordoba people for the way they treated everyone, especially me,” Messi said. “We needed this kind of attention.”

Messi was quiet in Argentina’s draws against Bolivia and Colombia, but on Monday he showed why he is considered by many to be the best player in the world.

“Lionel knows how to overcome these situations, he has personality to overcome them and today he showed it on the field,” said Argentina coach Sergio Batista. “He played a tremendous match.”

His runs through the defence posed a constant threat to Costa Rica and he also thrived on set pieces, just missing with a couple of free kicks.

“Today he played in a different position and had more space when he received the ball,” said Batista, who switched the playmaker to the right side and got him closer to his teammates.

Messi controlled the game for Argentina, keeping the ball at his feet and working his teammates into position to score several times.

He was growing visibly frustrated after each miss by the strikers, but Sergio Aguero finally capitalised on a chance created by the Barcelona star in the 52nd minute.

Messi took the ball at the top of the penalty box and rolled it perfectly to the left for Aguero’s shot from inside the area to make it 2-0.

In the third goal in the 63rd, Messi sent a through ball at the perfect speed for winger Angel Di Maria’s first-time shot from inside the area.

Messi created another opportunity in the 85th but substitute striker Ezequiel Lavezzi missed an easy shot from in front.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.