GUATEMALA CITY (Sporting Alert) — Lionel Messi started and scored a hat trick and assisted on the other goal as Argentina hammered Guatemala 4-0 in friendly international game at Mateo Flores Friday night.
The Barcelona forward opened the scoring in the 15th minute when he riffled a shot past the Guatemala goalkeeper 14 minutes into the contest.
Messi then delivered a cross for Augusto Fernandez to make it 2-0 in the 35th minute of play before netting from the penalty spot five minutes before the half-time break after he was brought down inside the area.
The Argentina captain then completed his hat trick with side-footer into the bottom right of the goal in the 49th minute as the visitor dominated the action.
He was substituted and replaced by Rodrigo Palacio midway through the second half.
Argentina several chances after that but failed to convert them into goals.
The performance by Messi saw him overtaking the legendary Diego Maradona’s goal tally for Argentina and pulled level with Hernan Crespo with 35 goals.
He still needs 21 more strikes to catch for striker Gabriel Batistuta.