Argentina outclass Germany despite Messi penalty miss
Lionel Messi missed a first-half penalty but made amends with a superb second-half goal as Argentina outclassed Germany 3-1 in a friendly on Wednesday.
An own goal by Sami Khedira gave Argentine the lead in first-half stoppage-time, Messi swept home the second early in the second half and Angel Di Maria blasted the third with an astonishing 35-metre drive.
Benedikt Hoewedes headed Germany’s late consolation.
Germany played for nearly one hour with 10 men after goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler was sent off for hauling down Jose Sand in the incident which led to the penalty.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen came on for his second cap and, with his first touch, dived to his left to save Messi’s weakly-taken penalty in the 31st minute.
With a one-man disadvantage, Germany were easy prey for Argentina’s diminutive strikers and at one point, it seemed the South Americans might avenge their 4-0 quarter-final defeat at the World Cup.
Nothing went right for Germany with Marco Reus blasting a shot against the post and Khedira seeing his effort disallowed for offside as he fired home the rebound.
Messi scored in his fifth international in succession, a run which started in the 2-1 World Cup qualifying win in Colombia last November and included hat-tricks against Switzerland and Brazil.
Argentina have won those five games and coach Alejandro Sabella, who took over with the team at a low ebb after a quarter-final exit at the Copa America which they hosted last year, has put them back on the rails.
There were plentiful chances at both ends in the first half but Argentina got the break when Khedira turned Di Maria’s corner into his own net in stoppage time.
Argentina brought on Sergio Aguero for Sand at halftime and extended their lead when Gonzalo Higuain, wearing a headband after a clash in the first half, pulled the ball back form the byline and Messi produced a majestic left-foot finish.
It could have been worse for Argentina as then Messi missed in his favourite situation when he was sent clean through on goal but sent a characteristic dink wide of the goal.
Di Maria made it 3-0 with a stunning drive in the 73rd minute, then Messi produced a stunning run through the defence but again narrowly missed the target.
Hoewedes pulled one back but there was still time for Higuain to hit the post in another Argentine attack.