Argentina lose to Venezuela despite Messi’s return


Sports desk: Lionel Messi made a disappointing return to Argentina duty after being injured in a 3-1 defeat by Venezuela.

Barcelona forward Messi missed six internationals following a self-imposed exile since losing to eventual winners France at the World Cup in Russia.

Messi, 31, finished the match but felt pain in his groin and will sit out Tuesday’s friendly against Morocco.

The injury, described as a flare up of an existing problem, is not thought to be serious.

In a friendly between the two South American sides held in Madrid, Newcastle striker Salomon Rondon put Venezuela ahead after six minutes before Jhon Murillo doubled the lead just before half-time.

Lautaro Martinez pulled a goal back for Argentina, but Josef Martinez added Venezuela’s third with a penalty.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Chelsea’s on-loan striker Gonzalo Higuain and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi were all left out of the squad by manager Lionel Scaloni.

Despite five substitutions being made by Argentina, Juventus forward Paulo Dybala failed to make it off the bench although Watford’s Roberto Pereyra did play the final 12 minutes at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.


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