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LIONEL MESSI came up with the goods when it mattered most for
But Messi, who is now the all-time leading goalscorer in South American qualifying, played a deft one-two with Angel di Maria to level things up after 12 minutes and then put his side in front eight minutes later with a strike from just inside the box.
The Game Between Argentina And Ecuador Is Worthless For The Ecuadorians, But Surely They Intend To Spoil The Party In Front Of Their Home Fans In The Nation’s Capital Quito.
As For Argentina, There Is A Lot As Stake As If They Loose It Will Be The First Time In 48 Years To Miss Out Of The Tournament.
Meanwhile As Age Is Not On Lionel Messi Would Be Having A Go At The Trophy As To Boost His CV, Which Is Lacking Of International Accolades.
Messi, who is yet to win a major tournament with Argentina, produced a mesmerising display as his side wrapped up their campaign with a win to finish third, which in turn ensured automatic qualification.
The 30-year-old Barcelona forward stepped up when most needed to deliver a World Cup berth for his side after a stuttering qualifying campaign.
Argentina needed to win against Ecuador to keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup alive.
And despite Jorge Sampaoli’s side winning just once in a World Cup
qualifier against Ecuador in Quito, Messi showed exactly why he is
arguably the greatest footballer on the planet by scoring a
Messi’s side were trailing 1-0 after just 43 seconds when Romario
Ibarra stepped up to give the hosts the lead.
They looked dead and buried from the word go and it seemed as if
Argentina were going to bow out.
But given what was at stake, this sparked the Barcelona superstar into life.
The 30-year-old restored parity after 13 minutes when he and Angel Di Maria produced some good work on the counter for him to slot home.
Messi turned the game on its head when on the 20-minute mark as
he dodged and weaved past the Ecuador defence to hammer his
left-footed drive into the top corner.
He then put the cherry on the cake with the goal of the game in the
second half after he lobbed the keeper to book Argentina their ticket
on the plane to Russia.
Argentina went onto finish third in the 10-team South American
But Messi’s heroics meant Alexis Sanchez’s Chile were pipped to a
World Cup place after they lost 3-0 to Brazil.