United Arab Emirates 0-5 Argentina: Messi and Di Maria star in final pre-World Cup friendly

By Sports Desk November 16, 2022 250

Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria played starring roles as Argentina eased to a 5-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in their final outing ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Lionel Scaloni's men had no trouble in extending their unbeaten run to 36 matches heading into the tournament thanks to a commanding victory in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Di Maria scored twice and assisted one for Messi, who had earlier played in Julian Alvarez for the opener, as Argentina raced into a four-goal half-time lead.

Substitute Joaquin Correa scored the only goal of a disrupted second half as the reigning South American champions signed off for Qatar in style.

Messi was played clean through on goal but unselfishly squared for Alvarez to squeeze past Khalid Eisa as Argentina made their early dominance count with 17 minutes played.

Di Maria opened his account with a crisp volley that went in off the far post and then showed brilliant footwork to get away from his man, round the goalkeeper and add his second.

The UAE, who finished behind Iran and South Korea in qualifying to miss out on a place in Qatar, were further behind before half-time when Messi fired past Eisa after being played in by Di Maria.

Despite making four changes at the break, with Di Maria making way, Argentina continued to dominate and Correa slotted home a fifth on the hour despite being under pressure.

Caio Canedo went closest to pulling one back for the UAE with a shot that was cleared off the line late on, but La Albiceleste saw out a fifth clean sheet in a row.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 16 November 2022 12:35
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