ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Argentina easily overcame Iraq 4-0 in a friendly match held in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, with three players scoring their first international goals for the twice-world champions.
Barcelona football star, Lionel Messi, did not play in the match. He has not played for Argentina since the World Cup in Russia.
New players on the Argentina team were rarely troubled by Iraqi forwards who struggled to score a goal.
Inter Milan striker, Lautaro Martinez, playing only his second game for the national team, put Argentina ahead after 15 minutes with a superb header from a Marcos Acuna cross.
Roberto Pereyra doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half when he took a pass on the edge of the box and swept a right-foot shot home after the Iraq defense opened up in front of him.
Defender Pezzella grabbed a third goal when he performed a header home after a flick-on at a corner, and Franco Cervi added a final point on the scoreboard during injury time after a surging run from midfield.
“It wasn’t easy opening them up, but we managed it, and we were patient and managed to score more goals,” Pezzella said.
Argentina has not been beaten in the past three matches since the interim coach Lionel Scaloni took over from Jorge Sampaoli.
Argentina had poor performance at the World Cup in Russia. Since Scaloni took over the job, the South American team has beaten Guatemala and Iraq as well as drawn with Colombia.
The next match of Argentina will be on Tuesday against its rival, Brazil, in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah.
Editing by Nadia Riva