CHICAGO, Sporting Alert – Lionel Messi starts on the bench again for Argentina in tonight’s Copa America Group D clash with Panama at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The Barcelona forward was an unused substitute in the 2-1 win over Chile in their tournament opener, but after training with the squad this week, he could see some time on Friday night.
Messi will start on the bench alongside Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela, Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Nahuel Guzmán.
With Messi on the bench, Nicolas Gaitan keeps his starting place and will play alongside Gonzalo Higuaín and Angel Di María in the attack.
Augusto Fernández, Ever Banega and Javier Mascherano will start in the midfield, while Ramiro Funes Mori, Nicolás Otamendi, Marcos Rojo and Gabriel Mercado start in the back four, with Manchester United reserve keeper Sergio Romero starting in goal.
Adolfo Machado, Gabriel Gómez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Armando Cooper, Blas Pérez and Felipe Baloy are all in the starting team for for Panama.
Argentina can secure a place in the quarterfinals with a win on Friday night, so too can Panama, if they manage to win.
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Argentina: Sergio Romero, Ramiro Funes Mori, Nicolás Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Gabriel Mercado, Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano, Augusto Fernández, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María, Nicolás Gaitán.
Panama: Jaime Penedo, Roderick Miller, Felipe Baloy, Luis Henriquez, Adolfo Machado, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gómez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Armando Cooper, Blas Pérez