Messi nets his fastest Argentina goal in win over Australia

By Reuters   June 15, 2023 | 07:07 am PT
Messi nets his fastest Argentina goal in win over Australia
Argentina's Lionel Messi in action with Australia's Kye Rowles and Denis Genreau during a friendly match at Workers' Stadium, Beijing, China, June 15, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Thomas Peter
Lionel Messi delighted Argentina fans in Beijing when he scored the fastest goal of his international career in a 2-0 friendly win over Australia, netting after 79 seconds at a raucous Workers' Stadium on Thursday.

Fans immediately got their money's worth when Argentina won the ball in Australia's half in the second minute and Enzo Fernandez found Messi, who sidestepped two defenders before beating the keeper with a curling shot from outside the box.

Messi, who last week confirmed he wanted to move to American side Inter Miami, has now scored in seven straight games for Argentina and the country's talisman has shown no signs of slowing down ahead of his 36th birthday next week.

A sea of blue-and-white had greeted the teams as they stepped out onto the pitch with an overwhelming majority of the 68,000 capacity crowd sporting Argentina jerseys.

"I can't see any yellow shirts anywhere," Australia coach Graham Arnold said before the match. "I just really hope Lionel Messi gets a little percentage of the shirt sales because I've never seen so many Argentine number 10 shirts in my life!"

Argentina doubled their lead in the second half when Rodrigo De Paul floated in an enticing cross into the box and substitute German Pezzella found space between two defenders to fire home a free header.

Friendly match: Argentina 2-0 Australia

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