Lionel Messi’s special performance inspired Argentina to a vital win over Colombia, keeping their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying hopes alive with a 3-0 result on Wednesday.
The diminutive maestro, criticised for not performing at the same level for his country as he he does for club Barcelona, opened the scoring with a superb free-kick in the 8th minute.
Despite the set-piece being some way away from the goal, the ball whizzed over the wall and hit the underside of the bar, leaving the sprawling David Ospina with no chance.
Lucas Pratto, in the line-up in place of Gonzalo Higuain, doubled La Albiceleste’s lead in the 23rd minute, guiding home a precise Messi cross with his head.
And Messi again was the provider for the final goal, chasing down a Colombian defender on the right wing, before unselfishly squaring it for Angel di Maria, who slammed the ball into an empty net to quell any hopes of a Colombian comeback in the 84th minute.
With the win, Argentina are fifth in the CONMEBOL 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying zone, just one point behind both fourth and third placed Chile and Ecuador who have 20 points.