Lionel Messi marked his 100th international victory with two goals as Argentina edged closer to Italy’s world-record unbeaten streak with a 3-0 defeat of Jamaica in a World Cup warm-up friendly in New Jersey.
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi took his international goals tally to 90 in 164 appearances after coming on as a second-half substitute at the Red Bull Arena.
The Argentinians had dominated throughout a one-sided first half, and took the lead on 13 minutes when Martinez jinked past Jamaica’s Damion Lowe and cut back for Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez, who tucked away a low finish from close range.
Then Messi’s goals capped an emphatic win for the South Americans, who have now gone 35 games unbeaten in a streak stretching back to 2019 – just two shy of Italy’s world-record unbeaten run of 37 set between 2018 and 2012.
The PSG forward, who also scored twice during a friendly win over Honduras in Miami on Friday, delighted the crowd with an electrifying cameo after coming on in the 56th minute for Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.
He bagged his first of the night in the 86th minute, darting forward before caressing a shot into the bottom corner past Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The 35-year-old seven-time Ballon D’Or winner then produced an impish second goal, craftily curling a low shot underneath the Jamaican wall into the bottom corner from a free kick.
Messi’s late double crowned another assured performance from Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina, who are rapidly emerging as one of the favourites for the World Cup in Qatar in November.