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Martinez double powers Argentina to top of Copa America Group A

Lautaro Martinez scored twice in the second half to lead Argentina’s B-team to a 2-0 victory over Peru in the Copa America on Saturday, securing first place in Group A and eliminating Peru from the tournament.

Martinez, making his first start of the competition, scored in the 47th and 86th minutes, continuing his scoring streak for a third consecutive match. His first goal came from a well-executed move, chipping the ball past Peru’s goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, while the second was a result of defensive lapses from Peru, with Martinez again calmly chipping over Gallese.

“I’m happy because I’ve scored in all three group stage games and was able to contribute to the team, which is most important,” Martinez told TyC Sports. He also expressed satisfaction in overcoming criticism from Argentina’s 2022 World Cup campaign and preparing well for the Copa America.

Argentina had already secured their spot in the quarter-finals with wins over Canada and Chile earlier in the group stage. Consequently, they rested key players, including captain Lionel Messi, who was recovering from a thigh injury sustained in their previous match against Chile. Messi is expected to return for the quarter-final clash against the Group B runner-up.

Despite missing their coach Lionel Scaloni due to suspension, and fielding a rotated starting line-up, Argentina controlled the match against Peru. They dominated possession in the first half and had several chances on target, with Gallese making notable saves to keep the scoreline close. Peru had their moments but ultimately failed to seriously threaten Argentina’s lead.

With their victory, Argentina will advance to the knockout rounds as Group A winners, while Canada secured their place in the quarter-finals as group runners-up after holding Chile to a goalless draw in the other Group A match.

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