The Barcelona starlet didn’t find the back of the net but was involved in 5 of Argentina’s six goals that saw them cruise into the Copa America final
Lionel Messi was at his creative best once again as Argentina moved a step closer to ending a 22-year major trophy drought, reaching the Copa America final after a comfortable 6-1 win over Paraguay.
The Barcelona man capped the night with three assists whilst being indirectly involved in two other goals.
Tata Martino’s side started the game as the brighter side and were rewarded on 15 minutes when Marcos Rojo opened the scoring.
Messi’s set-piece from the left flew across the box and eventually fell to the Manchester United defender, who side-footed in a simple finish from close range. Although not the best of goals, it was enough to calm the nerves of Argentina fans and players.
Messi was at it again, combining with Javier Pastore to make it 2-0 for the Albiceleste in the 27th minute.
The Argentina captain picked out Pastore’s well-angled run with a delightful pass and the Paris Saint-Germain man made no mistake, reaching for the bottom corner with a fine finish. 2-0 to Argentina.
Paraguay’s hopes were rekindled after Lucas Barrios found the net on 43 minutes. They came from behind in three of their four games in this year’s Copa America campaign but it was not going to happen this time.
Paraguay’s hopes were dashed early in the second half as Di Maria capitalised on a pass from Pastore to finish clinically into the bottom corner and make it 3-1.
Messi restarted his show. His solo run soon after left Paraguay’s defense open and Argentina did not waste that chance as Di Maria completed his brace, firing home a rebound after Pastore had been denied.
Aguero didn’t want to be left out of the party and he headed home Argentina’s fifth from a Di Maria cross.
Higuain replaced the Manchester City forward late on and completed the rout, scoring from Messi’s third assist of the night as Argentina set up a Copa America final clash with Chile on Saturday, July 4.
Lionel Messi was the Man Of The Match against Paraguay
Lionel Messi got his 400th win for club and country and reached 185 career assists. Alongside Javier Mascherano, Messi’s Argentina will face Claudio Bravo’s Chile in the final of the 2015 Copa America.