WATCH: Lautaro Martinez hugs Lionel Messi; dedicates match-opening goal vs Peru in Copa America 2024

Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez hugged and dedicated his goal to Lionel Messi after scoring the match opening goal during 2-0 win against Peru in Copa America 2024. Argentina played their last group-stage match against Peru after having qualified for the quarter-finals. The FIFA 2022 World Cup winners advanced to the next stage with wins over Canada and Chile. Martinez scored the match opener in the 47th minute into the game, and right after scoring, he ran up t o Messi and hugged him. 

The game saw Lionel Messi in the substitutes bench for the first time in Copa America 2024. Argentina’s goal came two minutes into the second half after Angel Di Maria provided an assist for Martinez to find back of the net. Later in the 86th minute, he sealed the deal for his side with a well-executed shot over Peru’s goalkeeper. With the goal, Martinez solidified his position as the Copa America’s leading run scorer after the group stage. 

Martinez also said, “I went to hug Leo for everything he means to us.” He added, “Every time I wear this shirt I enjoy it. Many want to wear this shirt. I work to show the coach that I am ready to play when he needs me.”

It is to be noted that Lionel Messi had an adductor discomfort in his right leg and was benched during the game against Peru as Argentina already qualified for the next stage. The Argentine captain faced some discomfort in the second game against Chile. However, he was able to complete the entire game without being substituted. 

On the other hand, coach Scaloni was handed a one-match suspension because his side was later returning for the second half in two matches, during the 2-0 win over Canada and 1-0 win over Chile. As per Copa America, players must be on the ground at the right time after the break and will receive a warning after violating for the first time. Scaloni’s suspension came after second violation. 

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