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Otamendi and Aguero score in Panama rout

THE GENERAL: Otamendi heads Argentina into the lead

THE GENERAL: Otamendi heads Argentina into the lead

Both Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi were on the scoresheet as Argentina booked their place in the last eight of Copa America.


Lionel Messi returned from a back injury, coming on as a substitute and scoring a brilliant hat-trick inside 21 minutes to help his side to secure a 5-0 win over Panama at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Argentina boss Gerardo Martino once again preferred Gonzalo Higuain to Aguero in his line-up for Argentina’s second game of the tournament which followed their 2-1 win over Chile.

Otamendi did start in defence and it was he who opened the scoring with his second international goal after seven minutes with a header from a Di Maria free-kick.

1-0  was how it stayed until Messi’s introduction on 61 minutes.

The brilliant forward scored six minutes after entering the fray and added two more on 78 and 87 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.

The pick of the trio was the second: a trademark curling free-kick into the top corner.

There was time left for Aguero to get in on the act as he entered the field with a quarter of an hour to go and scored the final fifth goal with a header from close range.

That result sends Argentina through to the last eight even before their final group game against Bolivia next week.


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