Batista Praises Messi

Argentina coach Sergio Batista hailed star Lionel Messi for his performance in their 3-0 win over Costa Rica in the Copa America Sergio Batista on Monday.

A double from Sergio Aguero and an Angel Di Maria strike in Cordoba put the hosts through to the quarter-finals, securing second place in Group A.

But it was Barcelona star Messi who ran the show in the attacking third, providing two assists in a man-of-the-match performance.

“He played a fantastic match,” Batista said of the forward.

“We talked a lot about the emotional and individual state of the team before the match. We needed to regain our confidence.”

“Lionel knows how to overcome these situations. He has great character.”

Batista said his team maintained possession better than in the first two games of the tournament and it saw them create several opportunities, many of which were squandered in the first half.

“We sought more penetration and bodies in attack,” he said.

“There was a change of mentality here and we kept the ball without confusion. We did not let ourselves become disorganised.”

“I have always had a strong view on how football should be played, but I am not too proud to change. We are always looking for the best for this team.”

Meanwhile, Costa Rica coach Ricardo La Volpe said his side spent most of the encounter chasing the ball.

“We couldn’t do any damage to them. We couldn’t get the ball,” he said.

“I said to the lads at half time, ‘Guys, if we don’t get a hold of the ball, we’re dead men’.”

Argentina will meet the second-placed side in Group C, which will be one of Chile, Uruguay or Peru, while Costa Rica may progress as one of the two highest ranked third-placed teams if other results go their way.

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