In their first match in front of their home crowd since winning the World Cup in December, Argentina defeated Panama 2-0 in a friendly on Thursday, with goals from Thiago Almada and Lionel Messi.
The same starting lineup from the World Cup final victory over France was chosen by Lionel Scaloni. Although they started off well, they were unable to penetrate the Panamanian defense until late in the second half.
In the 79th minute, Almada of Atlanta United FC scored his first goal for his country by converting a rebound after Messi’s free kick struck the left post.
At the Monumental Stadium, where more than 80,000 people were chanting his name, captain Messi eventually scored his 800th career goal and doubled the advantage in the 89th minute with a fantastic free kick that sailed into the top right corner.
After the final whistle, family members and kids joined Messi and his Argentina colleagues on the field as supporters cheered on their winning team as they raised fake World Cup trophies. Fireworks were erupting in the backdrop.
A moved Messi addressed the fans, “I always dreamt of this moment, celebrating with you. “To come to my country and win the World Cup, the Finalissima, and a Copa America,” he said.Even though I am aware that today is our day to rejoice, I don’t want to forget any of my previous teammates who worked really hard and sacrificed a lot on the pitch to help us succeed. They deserve the full admiration of the Argentine supporters since they consistently gave their all for these colors.
Eternal thanks to these players, Scaloni said through tears. Without them, we would not have won the World Cup; football is their sport.Everyone who is wearing this shirt tries their utmost, yet sometimes the results are unsuccessful. But this time, we succeeded, and it’s amazing.
On Tuesday, Messi will get the opportunity to record his 100th goal for Argentina in a friendly match against Curacao, continuing the World Cup champions’ homecoming, while Panama plays Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Nations League.