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Albiceleste cruise to 4-0 win over Iraq in international friendly

Goals Lautaro Martínez, Roberto Pereyra, German Pezzella and Franco Cervi clinch win for Argentina.

Thursday 11 October, 2018
German Pezzella, left, celebrates scoring Argentina's third goal with his teammate Ramiro Funes Mori.
German Pezzella, left, celebrates scoring Argentina's third goal with his teammate Ramiro Funes Mori. Foto:AP

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Argentina thrashed Iraq 4-0 in a friendly on Thursday with goals from Lautaro Martínez, Roberto Pereyra, German Pezzella and Franco Cervi.

Inter Milan forward Martínez struck his first goal for his country to give Argentina the lead in the 18th minute at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Pereyra added the second goal in the 53rd before Pezzella and Cervi struck in the final eight minutes.

The friendly marked the return of goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who was forced out of the 2018 World Cup with a knee injury.

Once again, the national side was without its star player, Lionel Messi. Interim Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni said last month that the Barcelona forward, 31, would not be called upon for Argentina's brief tour of Saudi Arabia.

Scaloni added that he wanted to focus on blooding younger players.

"I stressed our will to win the match, to attack non-stop and to keep scoring goals," he said after Thursday's game. "It was a good test, we are happy with it."

The Albiceleste next meets arch rivals Brazil at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah on Tuesday.

"We will park the bus, defend," Scaloni joked. "Actually we want to play well, fight for it, no doubt."

- TIMES/AP

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