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Messi equals Batistuta goal record, fires Argentina into Copa America semifinal

Lionel Messi equalled Gabriel Bastituta as Argentina all-time top scorer as Argentina beat Venezuela 4-1 to reach Copa America semifinal

Sunday, 19 June 2016

/ by Precious Ossai
Lionel Messi breaks Batistuta goal record - Argentina 4-1 Venezuela
Lionel Messi equals Batistuta record. Helps Argentina beat Venezuela 4-1 to reach Copa America semifinal

Argentina are through to the 2016 Copa America semifinal after defeating Venezuela 4-1 in their quarterfinal tie, a game that saw FC Barcelona star man Lionel Messi equal Gabriel Batistuta's record as the all-time top scorer for Argentina.

Lionel Messi nutmegged the Venezuela goalkeeper on 60 minutes to take his all-time goal tally for Argentina to 54 in 109 games, drawing him level with the legendary Gabriel Batistuta who got just as many goals in 78 appearances.

It took Messi 11 years to get 54 goals for Argentina, same as Batistuta who achieved the feat between 1991-2002, the star got his 54th strike as a 33-year old while Messi becomes 29 in two weeks.

ARGENTINA 4-1 VENEZUELA - MESSI COPA AMERICA MASTERCLASS


Lionel Messi made his first start of the 2016 Copa America Centenario tournament and produced a dazzling performance that saw him win the Man of the Match award scoring one goal and providing two assists.

The current Ballon d'Or holder started the show on the 8th minute when he received the ball on the right before unleashing a wonderful trademark pass that found Higuain in the box and the striker did well to finish past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Messi continued the show and was denied what looked like a clear penalty on the 21st minute after being brought down but it was Higuain who got Argentina's second of the day with the easiest of goals.

The Napoli striker capitalized on a poor back pass to round goalkeeper Dani Hernandez and give Los Albiceleste a comfortable 2-goal lead with just 28 minutes on the clock.

Venezuela didn't relent and kept on fighting for a goal which would have arrived had it not been for the post and the heroics of Sergio Romero, the Argentina goalkeeper however, conceded a penalty just before halftime as he brought down Martinez in the box but Venezuela couldn't capitalize as Seijas attempted panenka was saved comfortably by Romero.

Lionel Messi continued his artistry in the second half and got his record-equalling goal after 60 minutes, combining well with Nicolas Gaitan before finishing the ball through Dani Hernandez's legs to make it 3-0.

Venezuela grew into the game and Rondon got a goal 10 minutes later through a sublime header but it was Argentina who had the last laugh with Lionel Messi once again involved as he set up Eric Lamela who made it 4-1 for Los Albiceleste a minute later.

The game which saw Javier Mascherano also in the starting lineup meant Argentina maintain their 100% record in the 2016 Copa America Centenario and will face USA in the tournament's semifinal after two days.

CHILE 7-0 MEXICO - VARGAS SCORES FOUR, BRAVO STARTS FOR CHILE


It was a surprising result in the other Copa America game of the day as Claudio Bravo's Chile embarrassed Mexico 7-0 to qualify for the semifinal.

Eduardo Vargas was on fire as he scored four times to help the defending champions reach their second consecutive Copa America semifinal. The player scored on minutes 44, 52, 57 and 74 to help Chile to an historic victory over the Mexicans.

Edson Puch added a brace for the Chileans and Arsenal man Alexis Sanchez scored the other goal. Barça goalkeeper Claudio Bravo played the whole game and is likely to do the same when Chile come against Colombia in the semifinal.
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