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Despite holding arguably the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, at bay, T&T’s Soca Warriors left the Estadio Monumental Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires, with a 3-0 loss against an unspectacular Argentina, last night.
Rodrigo Palacio opened for the home team in the final play of the first half, before Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez completed the easy win with a pair of scrappy second half goals for Argentina, which is deep into preparation for the this month’s Fifa World Cup.
The odds were always stacked against T&T, but the Warriors held their own both defensively and in attack, creating one third of the total corners, despite Argentina’s dominance in possession.
Playing in its first international for the year, coach Stephen Hart’s players provided solid defensive play but was never able to settle in possession.
Even after being written off by many prior to kickoff, T&T did well to hold Argentina for 45 minutes, but succumbed to a headed goal by Palacio from a corner in first half injury time, moments before Messi mis-kicked an effort with just goal keeper Jan Michael Williams to beat.
It was one of several poor misses from Messi, who along with Ezequiel Lavezzi had a night to forget.
Williams was again beaten minutes after the restart from a close ranged effort by Mascherano, who connected with a ball, which came off the post from a Messi free-kick just outside the penalty area. T&T conceded the foul after Carlyle Mitchell body-checked the Barcelona ace in a yellow-card offense.
Argentina’s third goal, which came in the 64th minute, was as a result of T&T’s defense being beaten on the half-way mark. Palacio ran onto a clear pass through an open defence before he managed to pass it off for Rodriguez to finish.
Despite the possession being shared at a more even rate at that point, the momentum dropped with both teams seemingly satisfied with the final result.
T&T was not embarrassed and looked generally positive throughout against a team comprising players from the world’s top clubs.
The Soca Warriors will play its next friendly international against another team preparing for the World Cup, Iran, on Sunday, in Sao Paolo, Brasil.
Argentina 3 (Rodrigo Palacio 45th+, Javier Mascherano 51st, Maxi Rodriguez 64th) v T&T 0
T&T: Jan Michael Williams, Justin Hoyte, Yohance Marshall, Carlyle Mitchell (yellow 49th) (Gavin Hoyte), Sheldon Bateau, Lester Peltier, Khaleem Hyland (yellow 37th,Joevin Jones (Rundel Winchester 86th) Ataullah Guerra (Kevin Molino 60th), Andre Boucaud (yellow 26th) (Kevan George 71st), Kenwyne Jones (Willis Plaza 77th).
Unused subs: Marvin Philip, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Curtis Gonzales, Densill Theobald, Marcus Joseph, Trevin Caesar.
Coach: Stephen Hart
Argentina: Sergio Romero, Hernan Campagnaro, Federico Fernandez, Marcos Rojo, Martin Demichelis (Jose Maria Basanta 46th), Angel di Maria (Enzo Perez), Fernando Gago (Lucas Biglia 46th), Javier Mascherano (Ricardo Alvarez 70th), Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Lavezzi (Maxi Rodriguez 56th), Rodrigo Palacio (Augusto Fernandez 76th).
Unused Subds: Marinano Andujar, Agustin Orion, Ezequiel Garay, Pablo Zabaleta, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero.
Coach: Alejandro Sabella.: