CARACAS, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez scored one goal and set up two more as Argentina beat Venezuela 3-1 in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier here on Thursday.
Venezuela were dealt a major blow just after the half-hour mark when Luis Martinez — who had come off the bench to replace the injured Jose Velazquez five minutes earlier — was shown a straight red card for scything down Lionel Messi.
Argentina immediately looked more comfortable in possession and Martinez opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time with a cool finish after Giovani Lo Celso’s deft through ball.
Joaquin Correa doubled the lead by starting and finishing a superb attacking move that included a combination of slick passes from Messi and Martinez.
The Albiceleste struck again through Angel Correa, who swept home from close range after Wuilker Farinez used his feet to keep out Martinez’s dangerous first-time effort.
Yeferson Soteldo pulled a late goal back for the hosts when he converted from the penalty spot after he was tripped by Alejandro Gomez.
The result means Argentina remain second in the 10-team South American qualifying group with 15 points from seven games. Venezuela are last with just four points so far.
Earlier on Thursday, Bolivia and Colombia drew 1-1 in La Paz and Ecuador won 2-0 at home to Paraguay.