Messi treble saves Argentina WCup dream

By Daily Sports on October 11, 2017

Views: 977

Lionel Messi scored a brilliant hat-trick as Argentina sealed their place at the 2018 World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Ecuador on Tuesday.

Barcelona superstar Messi single-handedly rescued Argentina's World Cup hopes as the South American giants came from behind to win in Quito.

Romario Ibarra had given Ecuador a shock lead after only 38 seconds but Messi struck twice inside the opening 20 minutes to give Argentina the lead before adding a third in the second half.

It was a vintage display from Messi, delivering for Argentina when it mattered most to erase fears that the two-time champions might not qualify for next year's finals in Russia.

Argentina had got off to a disastrous start, conceding a goal in the opening minute as Ecuador took full advantage of hesitancy in the visiting side's defensive ranks.

Argentina stalwart Javier Mascherano failed to deal with a speculative long ball forward from Dario Aimar, directing a headed clearance into the path of Romario Ibarra.

Ibarra calmly headed to teammate Roberto Ordones who then steered a header back to Ibarra for the Universidad Catolica midfielder.

It was the worst possible start for a shell-shocked Argentina, who had kicked off chasing their first victory in the Ecuadoran capital since 2001.

For a while Argentina struggled to get to grips with a vibrant Ecuador, who looked to push forward at every opportunity.

But it was not long before Messi stamped his authority on proceedings, hauling his team back into the contest with a composed opening goal.

The equaliser came in the 12th minute when Messi darted forward and quickly released Angel Di Maria down the left.

This followed by two other goals to seal Argentine place in Russia. © AFP

•Photo shows Messi rejoicing after sealing their World Cup place.

Source Daily Sports

Posted October 11, 2017

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