Messi bids adieu to Kolkata in style

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Lionel Messi
Kolkata, Sep 4: Lionel Messi ended his five-day Kolkata sojourn on Sunday, mesmerising a thousand-odd crowd who sneaked in during Argentina's ''close door'' practice session at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan here.

The Argentine superstar did not interact with the Indian media nor did he take part in any promotional programme during his stay here for their one-off FIFA international friendly against Venezuela on Sept 2.

But in his last appearance at the sprawling 120,000 capacity stadium, Messi enthralled the handful crowd by not only scoring a goal during a practice match, but dispatched three footballs to the stand with his powerful left-footer before entering the players' tunnel, waving his last goodbye.

It was quite an emotional moment as the spectators stood up, giving ovation to the Argentine magician as ''Messi, Messi'' reverberated in the gallery.

There was no let up in their practice session either as Alejandro Sabella's boys geared up for the Nigeria challenge in Dhaka on September 6 with a rigorous practice session lasting more than an hour.

After a routine stretching ups, Sabella divided the squad into two equal groups as Messi and his first team partners, including the likes of Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Gonzalo Higuain registered a 2-0 win.

Messi scored the first goal dribbling from the midfield with a solo run in the first half, while Higuain struck in the second session.

The Lionel Messi-captained Argentina, after their 1-0 win over Venezuela on Sept 2, take on Nigeria for a second FIFA international friendly in Dhaka on Sept 6.

The Argentines flew out of Kolkata at 9.30 am on Monday.

PTI

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