Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Pereyra both find the target as Lionel Scaloni’s men record big win ahead of Brazil clash
Caretaker head coach Lionel Scaloni had already led them to a friendly victory over Guatemala and draw with Colombia, and in the friendly Super Clasico tournament that also involves Saudi Arabia and long-term rivals Brazil, he oversaw another encouraging performance.
In the absence of Lionel Messi – still to confirm if he will continue playing for his country – Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, goals from debutants Lautaro Martinez and German Pezzella, and Roberto Pereyra and Franco Cervi demonstrated their dominance.
Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez celebrated with his team-mates after opening the scoring
Roberto Pereyra doubled the lead in the second half with a well-take finish inside the box
Coach Lionel Scaloni said last month that Barcelona forward Messi, 31, would not be called upon for Argentina’s brief tour of Saudi Arabia.
Scaloni added that he wanted to focus on blooding younger players.
‘I stressed our will to win the match, to attack non-stop and to keep scoring goals,’ he said after Thursday’s game. ‘It was a good test, we are happy with it.’
Martinez’s came in the 18th minute, when he met a fine, left-wing cross from Marcos Acuna to head in from six yards.
Lionel Scaloni was happy with the display and that it gave him a chance to blood youngsters
Paulo Dybala had just threatened to double their lead when, in the 53rd minute, he created a chance for Pereyra. After beating two defenders he found his team-mate, who then routinely finished into the bottom corner.
Victory already felt secure when, in the 83rd minute, Scaloni’s team scored again. From Cervi’s corner, Eduardo Salvio nodded on to Pezella, who in turn headed beyond Iraq goalkeeper Jalal Hassan Hachim.
Cervi scored Argentina’s fourth and final goal – and the most impressive of the lot – in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.
Both set of teams line up at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium ahead of the match kicking-off
Santiago Ascacibar uses his strength to escape the attention of two Iraq players
Carrying possession for 25 yards in the same way Argentinians have so often seen Messi, he closed in on Hachim and finished beyond the goalkeeper’s right and into the corner.
Argentina next meets arch rival Brazil at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah on Tuesday.
‘We will park the bus, defend,’ Scaloni joked. ‘Actually we want to play well, fight for it, no doubt.’