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Messi comes off the bench to notch double as Argentina beat Jamaica

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Harrison, New Jersey, USA; Argentina forward Lionel Messi (10) celebrates his second goal of the match against Argentina during the second half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Second-half substitute Lionel Messi scored two late goals as Argentina beat Jamaica 3-0 in a World Cup warm-up in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Argentina took the lead in the 13th minute when Lautaro Martinez dribbled past Jamaican defenders in the box before finding Julian Alvarez, who coolly tapped the ball home.

Messi was reported to be suffering flu-like symptoms before the match and came off the bench in the 56th minute, scoring his first when he drove past several defenders and hammered home with four minutes remaining.

He added his second from a free kick three minutes later to extend Argentina’s unbeaten streak to 35 matches.

One fan came onto the pitch late on and Messi signed the shirtless intruder’s back before he was hauled away by security.

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Messi, who also scored twice in a 3-0 win over Honduras in Miami on Friday, is looking to lead Argentina to their third World Cup title and first since 1986.

They have one more tune-up against United Arab Emirates on Nov. 16 before they begin their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22.

-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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