Messi's hat trick lifts Argentina over Brazil

AFP, Sunday 10 Jun 2012

Argentina beats its Latin American rival 4-3 in Saturday's friendly

Lionel Messi
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates his game-winning goal - his third of the game - against Brazil during their international friendly soccer match in East Rutherford (Photo: AP)

Lionel Messi recorded his second international hat trick, scoring three times as Argentina edged Brazil 4-3 in an international exhibition game Saturday.

Messi finished the season with a club and country record 82 goals, scoring all three times off sizzling dashes through the Brazil defense.

Romulo opened the scoring in the 23rd minute for five-time world champions Brazil, which went with a young roster Saturday in front of a crowd of 81,994 at MetLife Stadium.

Messi gave Argentina a 2-1 lead with goals in the 31st and 34th minute on superb runs. Brazil's Oscar tied the score in the 56th minute and Hulk converted a corner kick dropped by goalkeeper Sergio Romero in the 72nd.

Argentina rallied three minutes later when Federico Fernandez scored off a corner kick by Sergio Aguero.

In the 84th, Messi picked up the ball at midfield, charged ahead and blasted a left-footed shot from 21 yards that went in just below the crossbar.

In 60 games for Barcelona this year, Messi scored 73 goals, breaking the European club record of 67 goals set by Bayern Munich's Gerd Mueller in 1972-73.

Messi also had nine goals in nine games for Argentina. His first hat trick for Argentina was on February 29.

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