Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 09:33:37 PM

Messi’s hat-trick lifts struggling Argentina to World Cup

Sports Desk |
Update: 2017-10-10 11:12:44 PM
Messi’s hat-trick lifts struggling Argentina to World Cup
Messi’s hat-trick lifts struggling Argentina to World Cup (Photo: collected)

DHAKA: Lionel Messi scored a superb hat-trick as Argentina came from behind to win away in Ecuador and qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, reports ESPN.
Brazil had already qualified and Luis Suarez scored twice as Uruguay beat Bolivia 4-2 to qualify, with Colombia also advancing with a 1-1 draw in Peru.

Peru finished fifth in South American qualifying and will now meet New Zealand in a two-legged play-off.

But Alexis Sanchez and Chile are out after losing 3-0 away in Brazil.

Argentina began the day in sixth position and in danger of not qualifying for a World Cup for the first time since 1970.

They made a terrible start in the high-altitude location of Quito and the hosts went ahead after 38 seconds through Romario Ibarra's goal - the quickest goal Argentina had ever conceded in a World Cup qualifier.

However, Argentina, World Cup runners-up in Brazil in 2014, fought back with Messi in stunning form.

The five-time world player of the year equalised after 12 minutes when he linked up with ex-Manchester United midfielder Angel di Maria and stabbed home.

His second goal came eight minutes later with a powerful strike from the edge of the area before a fine solo goal in the second half sealed the victory.

BDST: 0905 HRS, OCT 11, 2017

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