Martino wants Messi record this Copa

Messi was making just his first start of the tournament having only been able to start from the bench previously. That did not stop him from scoring three goals off the bench (against Panama) and he carried that form into his first start at the Copa, predictably running the show against Venezuela.

LionelMessi-Cropped

Lionel Messi tapped in his 54th goal for Argentina in its quarterfinal win against Venezuela.

Lionel Messi equalled Gabriel Batistuta's all-time record tally of 54 goals for Argentina during its 4-1 Copa America Centenario quarter-final win, but coach Gerardo Martino wants the Barcelona star to break the record in this Copa.

Messi was making just his first start of the tournament having only been able to start from the bench previously.

That did not stop him from scoring three goals off the bench (against Panama) and he carried that form into his first start at the Copa, predictably running the show against Venezuela, scoring his side's third and assisting another two in the 4-1 win.

And now Martino wants Messi to make the record his own.

"He has already matched the record, but I'd like to see Messi exceed it at this Copa America," Martino told a post-match news conference. "Messi knows that he is dominating and that means the marking on him is rigid. But he understands that very well."

Martino said his team was a worthy winner by such a margin, but he is wary of the test the home nation United States will provide in the semi-finals.

"We had many goal situation and were fair winners," Martino said.

"With the third goal, the team moved the ball better and felt comfortable. The second half was very good. But now we need to focus on United State and trying not to give them any options."

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