Lionel Messi scores his 80th international goal as Argentina beat Uruguay 3-0

Lionel Messi opened the scoring before Rodrigo De Paul extended the lead with Lautaro Martinez completing the drubbing.

Argentina beat Uruguay 3-0 in the world cup qualification fixture on Sunday; Credit: Twitter/@Argentina

Argentina beat Uruguay 3-0 in the World Cup qualifying match at El Monumental on Sunday. Lionel Messi opened the scoring before Rodrigo De Paul extended the lead towards the end of the first half, and then Lautaro Martinez completed the drubbing with Argentina’s third of the night. It was a dominant performance from Albiceleste as they extended their unbeaten run to 24. Meanwhile, Uruguay who came into the match unbeaten in eight games find themselves fourth in the 10-team South American qualifying group after the defeat.

Uruguay defended deep and was set up to hit the opposition on the counter. Inside the half-hour mark, Luis Suarez came close to scoring on three occasions including a powerful shot that hit the woodwork.

Meanwhile, Lionel Scaloni’s side slowly grew in confidence as the game went on. Giovani Lo Celso missed a golden chance to open the scoring when he rounded the goalkeeper, but delayed his attempt and then hit the underside of the bar. And then, seven minutes from the break, Messi scored a bizarre goal.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker made his way into the penalty area from the right side and floated a cross into the box with the outside of his left foot, but it was missed by both advancing striker Nicolas Gonzalez and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and somehow found its way into the back of the net. It was the Argentine legend’s 80th international goal, the most by any South American player. He was presented with a CONMEBOL award for making history following the match.

Muslera flirted with danger when he dribbled past Lautaro Martinez inside his own area and then in the 44th minute, Argentina extended their lead. Martinez swung and missed at Messi’s pass on the edge of the box but the loose ball fell into the path of Rodrigo De Paul who made no mistake. Martinez then had a chance to put the game to bed in the stoppage time of first half but the Inter Milan forward’s shot went straight to Muslera.

Although both sides played some good football, it was Argentina who produced the better chances in an entertaining and clean contest that saw only 15 fouls and no cautions.

Martinez finally got his goal in the 62nd minute, when he converted a cross from De Paul. Although Messi and Angel Di Maria tested Muslera the scoreline remained 3-0 and second-placed  Argentina reduced the gap between leaders Brazil to just six points.

Brazil’s perfect start comes to an end

Elsewhere, Brazil’s perfect start to the qualifying campaign came to an end against Colombia as the game finished 0-0 at Estadio Metropolitano. The Selecao had won their first nine qualifiers scoring 22 goals.

Brazil started brightly as Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina was tested by Neymar and Lucas Paqueta.

Neymar set up Paqueta with a clever pass but the latter poked the ball wide from a one-on-one situation with Ospina.

After the break, Colombia came out with a bit more intent and Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker had to make saves from Mateus Uribe and Juan Quintero, while Radamel Falcao had the ball in the net 20 minutes from time but it was disallowed for a foul on Militao.

Raphinha picked up substitute Antony with a brilliant in-swinging ball, but Ospina was alert to make a quick reflex save. 

Sportslumo Desk

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