CORDOBA, (Reuters) – Lionel Messi at last came into his own at the Copa America as Argentina beat a defensive Costa Rica 3-0 with two goals from Sergio Aguero to secure second place in Group A yesterday.
Argentina will move to Santa Fe for a quarter-final on Saturday against the second-placed team in Group C, while group winners Colombia’s last-eight match is in Cordoba with the best third-placed team from the three groups.
Striker Aguero put Argentina ahead with the last kick of the first half, taking advantage of a deflection to bury the loose ball when the packed Costa Rica defence tried to clear a dangerous move in their box.
Aguero added the second eight minutes into the second half after being put away by Messi on the left to become the tournament’s top scorer with a tally of three.
With Messi finding more space and laying on a string of perfect balls to the strikers, his combination with Angel Di Maria was perfect as the midfielder came in from the left to fire into the roof of the net in the 64th.
Argentina were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty just past the hour when Gonzalo Higuain was pulled back.