Messi celebrating - Copa America

It was the Lionel Messi show on Friday night at Soldier Field.


The Argentine superstar netted a second-half hat-trick as Argentina defeated Blas Pérez and the Panamanian national team 5-0 to book their spot in the Copa América Centenario quarter-finals.


LIONEL MESSI HATTRICK VS PANAMA https://t.co/czlwVC6wSp

— Messi World (@MessiWorId) June 11, 2016


Messi, who had been dealing with a back injury, entered the match as a substitute just after the hour-mark with Argentina leading 1-0. He then scored three straight goals in the span of 19 minutes and added an assist for good measure against a Panama side that was reduced to 10 men in the 31st minute.


Talk about being worth the price of admission. 


Pérez, who scored both of Panama’s goals in a tournament-opening 2-1 win over Bolivia, started the match and played 75 minutes. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker will not be eligible to play in Panama’s final group stage match vs. Chile on Tuesday, however, after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament.

<strong>POS</strong>
<strong>TEAM</strong>
<strong>W</strong>
<strong>L</strong>
<strong>D</strong>
<strong>GD</strong>
<strong>PTS</strong>
<p>1</p>
<p>Argentina</p>
<p>2</p>
<p>0</p>
<p>0</p>
<p>6</p>
<p>6</p>
<p>2</p>
<p>Chile</p>
<p>1</p>
<p>1</p>
<p>0</p>
<p>0</p>
<p>3</p>
<p>3</p>
<p>Panama</p>
<p>1</p>
<p>1</p>
<p>0</p>
<p>-4</p>
<p>3</p>
<p>4</p>
<p>Bolivia</p>
<p>0</p>
<p>2</p>
<p>0</p>
<p>-2</p>
<p>0</p>

The top two teams from the group will advance to the quarter-finals. 

Messi nets hat-trick in 5-0 win over Blas Pérez's Panamanian national team -

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