Lautaro Martinez bags hat-trick as Argentina hammer Mexico, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Lautaro Martinez bags hat-trick as Argentina hammer Mexico

Lautaro Martinez netted a 22-minute hat-trick as Argentina blitzed Mexico 4-0 in a friendly win in San Antonio yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Inter Milan striker took advantage of shocking defending to fire three angled shots past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 17th, 22nd and 39th minutes at the Alamodome.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Leandro Paredes scored Argentina's other goal from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute.

The South American side dropped the pace in the second period, but still faced little resistance from Mexico who did not manage a shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.

Argentina were without several first-choice regulars, with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria all missing from their two-game international tour of North America.

Eight players were shown yellow cards in a match that rarely lived up to its "friendly" billing, but the game will be remembered largely for the brilliant finishing that brought the 22-year-old Martinez his first international hat-trick.

"I'm delighted and emotional," said Martinez who now has nine international goals in 13 appearances.

"One has to make a lot of sacrifices to get here and it's not every day that you score three goals wearing this shirt.

"I am very happy and grateful to my teammates and the coaching staff. We train to give joy... Hopefully, we continue along this path."

The result was Mexico's heaviest defeat since they lost 7-0 to Chile in 2016. It was also the first loss for coach Gerardo Martino, who had guided them to 11 straight wins since taking over in January. - AFP, REUTERS