New captain Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to a 1-0 victory over Venezuela in a friendly on Friday.

Messi set up the decisive goal in the 67th minute off a free kick from the left, which was headed in by Nicolas Otamendi for his first goal in 12 games for his country.

It was Argentina's 19th victory in as many games against Venezuela, which made a surprise semifinal run in the Copa America in July.

Argentina, which bowed out in the Copa quarterfinals on home soil, was playing its first match under new coach Alejandro Sabella.