Argentina hit Ecuador for six in Elche friendly
The comfortable win came despite Messi being suspended until November for his anti-CONMEBOL outburst during the Copa America and the unavailability of River Plate and Boca Juniors players due to those teams' Copa Libertadores semi-final clash.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni made six changes to the team that started Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Germany, but his side were three goals ahead by 32 minutes in Elche thanks to a powerful header from Bayer Leverkusen striker Lucas Alario, a Jhon Espinoza own goal and Leandro Paredes' penalty.
Angel Mena pulled one back for Ecuador three minutes into the second half, but Fiorentina defender German Pezzella made sure of the result in the 66th minute with a free header before Nicolas Dominguez crashed home a fifth from long range and Lucas Ocampos rounded off the scoring four minutes from the end.
The match took place in Spain against the backdrop of violent unrest in Ecuador, with the country's president Lenin Moreno ordering a curfew and military control in capital city Quito. Six people have died and nearly 2,100 have been wounded or detained according to authorities after anti-austerity protests led by Ecuador's indigenous population.