Argentina pound UAE 5-0 in friendly ahead of World Cup

Sports Desk, Nov 16 (EFE).- Angel Di Maria had a brace Wednesday as the Argentine national soccer team rolled 5-0 over the United Arab Emirates in the Albiceleste’s final tune-up for World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Argentina, in pursuit of a third World Cup title, also got goals from Lionel Messi, Julian Alvarez and Joaquin Correa.

Alvarez opened the scoring in the 17th minute in front of 30,000 people at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Di Maria made it 3-0 with goals in the 25th and 36th minutes.

Messi, preparing for his fifth and final World Cup, extended the lead in the 44th and Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni made five changes to start the second half, fielding a side with five defenders.

A shot from the UAE’s Harib Abdalla Suhail bounced off the cross-bar before Correa added a fifth goal for Argentina at the hour mark.

The best chance for the hosts, who didn’t qualify for the World Cup, came with 10 minutes left in regulation, when Brazilian-born Caio Canedo found himself in scoring position with the Argentine goalkeeper out of the net, but defender German Pezzella produced a goal-line clearance to preserve the clean sheet.

Argentina will begin their World Cup campaign Nov. 22 against Saudi Arabia and then face Mexico before concluding the group stage on Nov. 30 against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland. EFE sam/dr

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