Lionel Messi brace as Argentina put seven past Hong Kong

Argentina strolled to a 7-0 friendly win over Hong Kong on Tuesday, with superstar Lionel Messi and Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain both netting a brace.

Lionel Messi brace as Argentina put seven past Hong Kong

Hong Kong: Argentina strolled to a 7-0 friendly win over Hong Kong on Tuesday, with superstar Lionel Messi and Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain both netting a brace.

Coach Gerardo Martino started with a second-string side that saw Barcelona`s Messi, Manchester United`s Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero of Manchester City all on the bench.

Messi came on with half an hour of the match remaining. By then the score was already 4-0 but soon the little wizard had made it five, playing a neat one-two before dinking the ball over goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai.

He was then instrumental in Argentina`s sixth, pulling the ball back from the byline to give Nicolas Gaitan of Benfica the easiest of tap-ins from inside the six-yard box.

It was Gaitan`s second goal of the match. The first came just before half-time when he cut in from the right and smashed the ball in with his left foot.

Just a minute earlier Higuain had scored his first, heading down a cross from the left.

The forward got his brace and Argentina`s fourth with a simple pass into a open goal less than ten minutes into the second half.

Sevilla`s Ever Banega had opened for Argentina on 19 minutes, pouncing on some woeful Hong Kong defending.

Yapp fumbled a weak effort which landed at the feet of Lee Chi-ho who scuffed a clearance straight to Banega, for the midfielder to drill the ball home.

With five minutes to go Messi scored his second and Argentina`s seventh, taking the ball down beautifully with his left foot before going past three Hong Kong defenders and rifling it low into the corner.

Other stars who didn`t start for Argentina included Sergio Romero, Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Mascherano, Martin Demichelis and Erik Lamela.

Manchester City`s Zabaleta entered the fray on 60 minutes with Di Maria and Mascherano coming on ten minutes later -- all three coming through the match unscathed.

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