Argentina ease past Albania
Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi were on the scoresheet as Argentina hammered Albania 4-0 in their last preparation game for the Copa America. Argentina were merciless in front of goal and capitalised on a weak Albania side at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.
Napoli forward Ezequiel Lavezzi opened the scoring in the fifth minute after some good work from Messi. It was his first goal for the Albiceleste. Argentina dominated the first half, but had to wait until the 42nd minute for Barcelona forward Messi to finish inside the near post after Lavezzi's pass. Before that, Albania's impressive goalkeeper Arjan Beqaj made a couple of fine saves to frustrate the hosts.
Argentina manager Sergio Batista introduced Tevez, Pablo Zabaleta and Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago for Lavezzi, Marcos Rojo and Lucas Biglia, but Argentina did not score again until 74th minute. Sergio Aguero found space in front of substitute keeper Isli Hidi after receiving a long-range pass from Messi and sent the ball into the back of the net.
Supporters at the Monumental clamoured for a Tevez goal and he did not let them down, slotting home after Aguero unselfishly set him up. The Manchester City striker told Telefe the game was the best chance for Argentina to build momentum ahead of hosting the Copa America next month.
"This is the best way to warm up," Tevez said. "Albania will not be as tough opponents as the ones we'll play against in the Copa America, but we gained confidence. I see the team in good shape. I'm happy to be here."