Messi strikes twice, Argentina past Nicaragua before Copa America opener

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Lionel Messi was the hero again as Argentina wrapped up their Copa America preparations with a 5-1 win over Nicaragua.

Messi scored two goals in two minutes to lead Argentina past Nicaragua on Friday before Lionel Scaloni’s men fly out to Brazil for the Copa America.

Having ended his international absence in March’s shock loss to Venezuela, Messi opened the scoring with a stunning solo effort in the 37th minute.

Lautaro Martinez came off the bench and scored a second-half brace against the Central American visitors, while Roberto Pereyra added a fifth late on before Nicaragua’s Juan Barrera converted a 91st-minute penalty to put a blemish on Argentina’s performance.

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