Argentina topple El Salvador with Lionel Messi on bench

Argentina's Federico Mancuello celebrates his second-half goal against El Salvador with teammates Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Orban.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Ever Banega scored on a deflected shot, Federico Mancuello added a late goal and Argentina beat El Salvador 2-0 in a friendly match Saturday.

Argentina played a lackluster game without its star Lionel Messi, who stayed on the bench with a right foot bruise. The Barcelona star took a knock last Sunday in the Spanish league `clasico’ against Real Madrid, and missed several training sessions this week with the national team.

Messi had tests done on Tuesday, which revealed no serious injury.

Banega scored with a 54th minute shot that deflected off defender Nestor Renderos and beat goalkeeper Derby Carrillo. Mancuello sealed the win with a free-kick from a tight angle in the 88th.

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino started Carlos Tevez for the first time since taking over the team last year, but the Juventus forward was ineffective in attack with Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria.

Argentina faces Ecuador on Tuesday in the Meadowlands, in its last warm-up match before Copa America in June.