It was far from the type of performance that will have the rest of the world sit up and take notice but Argentina still had too much for a disappointing Mexico side in Córdoba on Friday evening.
The two nations play twice during this break, heading to Mendoza for a second match on Tuesday, and the visitors will be hoping for much better after their limp display was punished by Lionel Scaloni’s side at a canter.
Ramiro Funes Mori aiming to establish himself back in the national team headed Argentina into a first half lead and although it took a late Isaac Brizuela own goal to wrap up the win, La Albiceleste were comfortable.
That being said it was Mexico who started brighter and should have led inside the opening two minutes. First Raúl Jiménez headed against the crossbar and then moments after a Funes Mori slip saw Marco Fabián denied by Agustín Marchesín one-on-one.
Argentina stirred from their slow start and Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa had to be alert to a number of chances. Local hero Paulo Dybala was still unable to break his international duck but had a far more involved role and should have had a hand in Argentina’s opener, crossing for Lautaro Martínez to head straight at Ochoa from a chance that would usually end in the net.
Dybala didn’t have to wait long for an assist though as his free-kick delivery just before the break found the head of an unmarked Ramiro Funes Mori, who made no doubt in nodding in the opener.
As the substitutions for both sides rolled during the second half the game lost any of the flow that it may have had during the first 45 minutes and the closest Dybala and Argentina came to a second was a delicate chip that floated over the bar.
The lead was eventually doubled but it came thanks to Isaac Brizuela turning the ball into his own net. Mauro Icardi was lurking, the Inter striker also hoping to end his international drought, but the Mexican substitute beat Icardi to the ball and poked past Ochoa.
That proved enough and Argentina move onto Tuesday with another win under Lionel Scaloni.