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Albiceleste reach Final as Messi breaks national scoring mark


06-22-2016 15:56 BJT

The Olympic Torch is hot, but so is Argentina's football team as of late, and the Albiceleste were looking to blaze their way into the Championship Match at the Copa America Centenario. Lionel Messi would enter the Semi-Final against tournament hosts the USA trying to become the sole owner of the national side's scoring record, but would also share the spotlight by setting up teammates like Gonzalo Higuain for goals of their own.

The "Little Magician" with a look of determination as he leads the South American squad onto the pitch in Houston, where they hope to quickly silence the rowdy crowd cheering on the underdog Stars and Stripes.

And it doesn't take long to break the ice, as Messi sets up Ezequiel Lavezzi's perfectly placed header, and that puts the Argentines on top 1-NIL in the third minute. The Barcelona man's looping pass right on target.

Messi then steps up to take a free-kick in the 32nd minute, and his placement is impeccable once again, as he clears the wall and makes it 2-NIL. That is the 55th goal of his career for Argentina, and it makes him the country's all-time scoring leader, breaking a tie for the top spot with Gabriel Bati-stuta. Messi's former coach with the Albiceleste, Diego Maradona, was recently overheard criticizing his leadership skills,  but the prolific forward now leads the nation's goal scoring list, sitting in front of every footballer who has ever donned the sky blue and white.

The Argentines continue to attack as the second half gets underway, and despite the USA's best efforts to pick off their passes, the South Americans retain possession and send the ball in to Higuain. He is denied once by Brad Guzan, but not twice, as "El Pipita" makes it 3-NIL in the 50th minute. Albiceleste coach Gerardo Martino not looking too impressed on the touchline for some reason, but the team's supporters in the stands are loving their side's display of firepower in this contest.

It would not be a perfect evening for Argentina, however, as Lavezzi takes a tumble over a signboard in the 63rd minute. (REPLAY) He loses track of where he is on the field while trying to keep the ball in play, not realizing that he has drifted out of bounds, and appears to injure his arm on the fall, meaning he will most likely miss the tournament's title match.

But Messi leaves no doubt that the rest of the Argentines will be there, as he intercepts a pass from the hosts, before finding Higuain for his second goal of the night in the 86th minute. 4-NIL is the final score, and the Albiceleste will face the winners of this evening's game between Colombia and defending champions Chile, for the trophy in New Jersey on Saturday.

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