Home / Sports / Argentina beats Peru without Messi as Lautaro Martínez scores twice

Argentina beats Peru without Messi as Lautaro Martínez scores twice

Lautaro Martínez scored twice and Argentina, playing without the injured Lionel Messi, wrapped up Copa America group play with a 2-0 win over Peru on Saturday night.

A nicely placed through ball from Ángel Di María led to Martínez’s goal in the 46th minute. Martínez was embraced by teammates afterward, then went to hug Messi, who was standing near Argentina’s bench.

Martínez doubled Argentina’s lead in the 86th minute and now has a tournament-leading four goals.

Messi did not play Saturday as he nurses a leg injury suffered in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Chile on Tuesday that clinched a quarterfinal berth for the defending champions. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni was also absent after being suspended because of his team’s late second-half return to the pitch in its previous two Copa matches.

Saturday, the Albiceleste walked out for the second half just a few seconds before Peru.

Playing with nine changes to its starting lineup, Argentina controlled possession (74%) for the third straight match and had six shots on goal, while being held scoreless in the first half for the third straight match.

The game was played in front of about 64,000 fans at the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium, which will also host the final on July 14. Most fans cheered for Argentina while wearing different versions of Messi’s No. 10 jersey.

Canada played Chile to a scoreless draw in another Group A match on Saturday in Orlando, Florida, to also advance to the quarterfinal round.

Argentina will learn its knockout stage opponent when Group B finishes on Sunday. Group leader Venezuela plays Jamaica at Austin, Texas, and second-place Ecuador plays Mexico at Glendale, Arizona.

Nicolás Tagliafico appeared to score for Argentina in the 55th minute after tapping in the ball at the back post, but the officials ruled that goaltender Pedro Gallese, who made four saves, was blocked and the goal was waived off.

Argentina had another chance when the team was awarded a penalty after a handball in the box by Jesús Castillo. Leandro Paredes blasted the ball into the right post, and the score remained 1-0.

Goaltender Emiliano Martínez made one save.

Peru was held without a goal for the third ga.me of the tournament and has no goals in 11 of its last 14 matches. Peru played a scoreless draw against Chile in its Copa America opener, then lost 1-0 to Canada. The team reached the semifinals in 2021 before losing to Brazil.