Lionel Messi is left in a heap after horror tackle from Luis Martinez as Argentine media blasts Venezuela star for ‘CRIMINAL’ challenge… but superstar is unscathed and helps his country to win in World Cup qualifier
- Lionel Messi was on the receiving end of a horror tackle on international duty
- The 34-year-old was left in a heap after a reckless tackle from Luis Martinez
- The Venezuelan defender was dismissed as Argentina completed a 3-1 victory
- Argentine media described the challenge as ‘criminal’ and worthy of jail
Lionel Messi was on the receiving end of a tackle described as ‘criminal’ by Argentina’s media during their victory over Venezuela on Thursday, but the 34-year-old came away unscathed in a huge relief to Paris Saint-Germain fans.
Messi took to the field for his country for the first time since sealing his high-profile switch to PSG from Barcelona, with the cash-strapped Catalonians financially unable to meet the Argentine’s contract demands.
The 34-year-old made his first appearance for the Parisians from the bench during their 2-0 win over Reims on Sunday and is now back in South America, representing the Copa America champions in their World Cup qualifier in Venezuela.
Lionel Messi was on the receiving end of a horror tackle while on international duty
Venezuela’s Luis Martinez made contact just below the knee in a full-blooded challenge
Messi was left in a heap on the turf in concerning viewing for supporters of his new club PSG
Yet Messi’s game almost came to an end on the half-hour mark after he was left in a heap from a full-blooded tackle made by Luis Adrian Martinez.
The Venezuelan defender lost his footing slightly as he attempted to close down the Argentine and his studs made contact high up on Messi’s leg that left PSG fans grimacing.
The referee, with the assistance of VAR, dismissed Martinez with a straight red card and after receiving on-field treatment, Messi was fit to continue as Argentina sealed a 3-1 win.
However, Martinez’s challenge incurred the wrath of the Argentine media, with TyC (via Marca) describing the tackle as a ‘criminal kick that could have broken Messi’ and ‘worthy of jail’.
Tempers flared between both sets of players as Messi received attention. Martinez was sent off
The 34-year-old was able to continue and Argentina rounded out a comfortable 3-1 victory
The South American champions took the lead just before half time through Lautato Martinez after latching onto a crisp pass from Giovani Lo Celso to dispatch beyond the keeper.
Tottenham star Lo Celso, alongside Aston Villa duo Emi Martinez and Emi Buendia, ignored Premier League orders not to go on international duty to red-list countries and will be expected to quarantine upon their return to England.
With a man advantage the visitors had most of the ball in the second half and added two more goals in the 71st and 74th minutes through substitutes Joaquin Correa and Angel Correa.
Yeferson Soteldo scored a consolation penalty for Venezuela in stoppage time. Thursday’s victory extends Argentina’s unbeaten record to 21 games.
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