(Jakarta) Argentina, without superstar Lionel Messi, beat 149th-ranked FIFA nation Indonesia 2-0 in a lucrative friendly on Monday in Jakarta.
To face this modest nation, Argentina, already victorious over Australia 2-0 last Thursday in Beijing, had rested the seven-time Ballon d’Or and new recruit from Inter Miami (MLS), as well as several executives including Angel Di Maria or Nicolas Otamendi.
But that did not prevent the Gelora Bung Karno stadium from being invaded by more than 60,000 delirious spectators, this meeting having been preceded by several weeks of media campaign in the country.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Leandro Paredes, on loan last season to Juve, opened the scoring in the 38th minute, sending a missile into the top corner from 35 meters unopposed.
Despite a flurry of chances, the world champions had to wait until the 55th minute to break through central defender Cristian Romero.
Argentina’s visit to Jakarta for the first senior international match between the two teams cost the Indonesian Football Federation no less than $5 million, according to local media.