Lionel Messi seemed to have put his Barcelona troubles at Camp Nou as he helped Argentina to a 1-0 win over Ecuador in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers on Thursday. His 13th minute penalty was the only difference between both the teams at the Bombonera.
It was a sweet revenge for Argentina having lost to the same opponent at the same venue in the last world cup qualifying event four years ago.
However, on Thursday Argentina looked in complete control of the proceedings and never looked vulnerable of another shock defeat at the empty and iconic stadium in Buenos Aires.
As predicted, the Albiceleste dominated possession but struggled to pierce through the determined and physical Ecuador team. The team looked completely transformed from the 6-1 humiliation that Argentina had handed them in a friendly a year ago.
Meanwhile, the chance to net the only goal of the match was presented by Pervis Estupinan when he recklessly challenged Lucas Ocampo inside his own box.
The six-time Ballon D’Or winner Messi did not make any mistake from the 12 yards spot and lashed home to score what was his 71st goal in Argentine colours.
Ocampos was provided with a glorious chance to double Argentina’s lead moments later but Ecuadorian goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez dived full length to keep out his low shot from eight yards.
Rodrigo De Paul also had a chance to make it 2-0 but he fired narrowly wide in what was the last kick of the match.
In Montevideo, Luis Suarez scored in Uruguay’s thrilling 2-1 win over Chile. After Alexis Sanchez had equalised for Chile, Maxi Gomez scored an injury-time winner.
Former Barcelona and current Atletico Madrid forward Suarez had opened the scoring in the 39th minute before he was substituted by Gomez who eventually scorer the winner for Uruguay.
In another match, Paraguay and Peru shared points after the match ended 2-2 in Asuncion. While Angel Romero scored a brace for the hosts, Andre Carrillo repeated the same at the other end.