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Spain destroys Messi-less Argentina

By Alex Butler
Spain destroys Messi-less Argentina
Argentina's Lionel Messi (R) watches his team's from the stands during an international friendly soccer match between Argentina and Spain Tuesday at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Javier Lizon/EPA-EFE

March 27 (UPI) -- Spain smacked Argentina 6-1 Tuesday in an international soccer friendly at Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi did not play in the contest, due to an injury. Real Madrid star Isco led the Spaniards with three goals.

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Diego Costa got the Spaniards started when he slipped in a score past Argentine keeper Sergio Romero in the 12th minute. Costa finished a feed in traffic for the score to put Spain up 1-0.

Isco's first goal came next. He was able to finish a pass from Marco Asensio at pointblank range for a 2-0 lead in the 27th minute.

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Argentina finally got on the scoreboard in the 39th minute. Defender Nicolas Otamendi headed a corner kick into the near-post netting for his team's only goal.

Spain took the 2-1 edge into the half, before exploding in the second stanza.

Isco got the scoring started in the second leg. He finished a pass from Iago Aspas by blasting it on the ground past Romero.

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Thiago Alancarta made the score 4-1 in the 55th minute. Isco passed central to Aspas on the play, but the ball got lost in traffic. Alancarta cleaned up the offering by hammering it home.

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Aspas got the next gaol for the Spaniards, tapping in a long pass from just outside the box on a breakaway in the 73rd minute.

Isco got his final score less than a minute later. He took a short feed from Aspas on the play, before beating Romero to his right.

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"We didn't expect the rival team to dominate us so forcefully," Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said after the match, according to the AFA Twitter account. "...We have to learn from our mistakes".

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