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Argentina drub Mexico on Martinez's hat trick

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Published in Soccer
Tuesday, 10 September 2019 22:07

Lautaro Martinez scored a first-half hat trick as Argentina ran past Mexico 4-0 in an international friendly on Tuesday in San Antonio.

Mexico came into the Alamodome after beating the U.S. 3-0 on Friday and riding a 11-game winning streak under manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino, but his former side emphatically halted that with an offensive outburst from which El Tri ultimately couldn't recover.

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Martinez, who plays for Inter Milan, repeatedly took advantage of sloppy Mexican defending during the first half. He slotted in his first in the 17th minute with a slick left-footed shot from just inside the box. He struck again five minutes after getting behind Mexico's line, and added his third in the 39th minute after robbing the ball from Nestor Araujo.

Paris Saint-Germain's Leandro Paredes scored Argentina's other goal from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute.

Mexico fielded a strong starting XI that featured Wolves striker Raul Jimenez and Napoli's Hirving Lozano, but finished the night without registering a shot on goal until the 91st minute.

After the match, Martino pleaded for more games moving forward against top level opposition.

"I don't think [the defeat] is our reality and I also don't think that going 11 games without losing was our reality," said Martino in a news conference after the game. "It's the second 'A level' game we've had. The first was against Chile. And the substantial difference against Argentina and Chile is that tonight we committed the kinds of errors in which we knew Argentina could damage us."

Martino added that Mexico needs more games against world powers to test themselves regularly in trying conditions

"What I also understand is that so that this can be a learning experience doesn't happen we have to play more of these types of games and get used to them," he said.

Eight players were shown yellow cards in a match that rarely lived up to its friendly billing, but the game will be remembered largely for the brilliant finishing that brought the 22-year-old Martinez his first international hat trick.

"I'm delighted and emotional," Martinez said. "One has to make a lot of sacrifices to get here and it's not every day that you score three goals wearing this shirt."

Martino lamented Mexico's defensive errors, the lack of speed in the build-up and not being able to play through the lines, with Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni citing the full-back area as key.

"The reality is that Mexico depends a lot on the full-backs; they are practically wingers," said Scaloni. "They always make a three versus two with the wingers cutting inside and if you defend, they end up beating up. What we looked to do so they lost confidence is to win back the ball quickly and get the ball up to the striker."

ESPN FC's Tom Marshall and Reuters contributed to this report.

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