Argentina bows down to Leo Messi


A tremendous performance by Leo Messi, who scored a hat-trick, sealed Argentina’s place in the Russia World Cup

Argentina won the decisive game against Ecuador by a 1-3 scoreline and get their ticket to the Russia World Cup thanks to Leo Messi, who put in an enormous performance, including a hat-trick, and saved the blushes of an Albiceleste side who were, in general, quite disappointing in Quito. 

The game could not have started worse than it did for Argentina. With only a minute gone, a great move involving Ordoñez and Romario Ibarra ended with the latter finishing excellently past Romero. The panorama looked bleak for the visitors, but Leo Messi did not take long to show up and turn the game around, helped by the hosts’ defensive weakness.

Ecuador left too much space between lines and that is where Messi was able to wreak havoc. In the 12th minute, he advanced to the edge of the box, did a quick one-two with Di María, and smacked in a low shot past Banguera. With the scores now level, Argentina were very much back in the game.

In the 20th minute, the Barça star showed up again, dispossessing the centre-back Aimar and then sending a powerful left-footed effort into the top corner. 1-2. From then on Argentina should have been more in control, but they were far from being on top and Ecuador, especially Ordoñez, were a constant threat to the goal defended by Romero.

In the second half, Ecuador started playing much more in Argentina’s half, and Sampaoli’s side were having problems until Messi popped up again to put the game beyond any doubt. In the 62nd minute, the Blaugrana forward picked up a loose ball with the Ecuatorian defence all over the place and netted again to round off a memorable personal performance and take Argentina through to next summer’s World Cup in Russia.