Two goals in the minutes before half-time, one of them an unusually lucky counter from Lionel Messi, helped Argentina on their way to an easy 3-0 win over Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday (October 10). Eight minutes before the break, Messi drove 35 meters into the field, but it missed both striker Nicolas Gonzalez and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and somehow got into the net.
Six minutes later Lautaro Martínez swung and missed a chance on the edge of the box but the loose ball fell in the way of Rodrigo de Paul who made no mistake. Martinez made up for the miss when he converted a 17-minute low cross from De Paul in the second half.
Here’s a look at Lionel Messi’s goal…
Messi aiming from the stand pic.twitter.com/jfWaDNnYdc
— TotalMessi (@TotaILeoMessi) 11 October 2021
The combined win, combined with Brazil’s 0–0 draw in Colombia earlier in the day, reduced the gap between Brazil’s leaders and second-placed Argentina to six points at the top of the 10-team South American qualifying group. The top four teams automatically qualify for Qatar and the fifth-placed team advances to the inter-regional playoffs.
Uruguay, who finished the day fourth in the 10-team table, were unbeaten in eight matches in Sunday’s match. They took the game to their rivals, with Luis Suárez coming close on three occasions in the first half hour, including a thunder shot that came back from the post.
Argentina grew as the game progressed, however, and Giovanni Lo Celso missed a golden opportunity to score the goalkeeper, but it was delayed before hitting the bar and hitting the shot below the goal line before rolling to safety. They have never looked like losing an unbeaten run since the home team’s first bloody run which is now 24 games on.
Edinson Cavani came in the second half for Uruguay but it was Argentina who had the better chances in an entertaining game with only 15 fouls and no caution. Messi came close to receiving his second and substitute ngel Di Maria, he could only on two occasions see his goalscoring shots to Muslera twice.
(with Reuters inputs)