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martes, 15 de noviembre de 2016

Argentina 3-0 Colombia: Lionel Messi scores stunning free-kick to cap virtuoso display and keep World Cup qualification hopes alive


  • Lionel Messi whipped a stunning free-kick past David Ospina into the top right corner
  • The Barcelona forward then turned provider as he crossed for Lucas Pratto to head home 
  • Messi was the architect once again as he sqaured to Angel Di Maria to smash into an empty net
  • The victory ends Argentina's disappointing four-match winless run in World Cup qualifying
The Barcelona superstar gave his side the lead with a brilliant free-kick after only 10 minutes before setting up Lucas Pratto and Angel di Maria in the second half to seal the three points.
The victory helps ease the pain of the 3-0 defeat to Brazil last week and keeps alive their hopes of qualification for the 2018 showpiece.
Lionel Messi (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Ever Banega (centre) and Lucas Biglia (left)
Lionel Messi (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Ever Banega (centre) and Lucas Biglia (left)
The Barcelona forward whipped a stunning free-kick into the top right corner in the 16th minute of the first half
The Barcelona forward whipped a stunning free-kick into the top right corner in the 16th minute of the first half
The Colombia wall were powerless to to prevent the 29-year-old's (right) effort nestling into the top right corner
The Colombia wall were powerless to to prevent the 29-year-old's (right) effort nestling into the top right corner
A despairing David Ospina (2nd right) could only watch on as the Argentine's strike flew past him into the goal
A despairing David Ospina (2nd right) could only watch on as the Argentine's strike flew past him into the goal

MATCH FACTS 

Argentina: Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Mas; Mascherano, Biglia; Di Maria (Acuna 85'), Banega (Perez 63'), Messi; Pratto (Higuain 79')
Subs: Roncaglia, Rulli, Guzman, Pizarro, Demichelis, Correa, Zabaleta, Belluschi, Aguero.
Goals: Messi, Pratto, Di Maria 
Booked: Funes Mori, Mercado, Banega, Pratto  
Colombia: Ospina; Arias, Sanchez, Murillo, Balanta; Sanchez, Cuadrado, Torres (Copete 67'), Barrios (Torres 46'), Rodriguez; Falcao (Bacca 76') 
Subs: Cardona, Perez, Gonzalez, Muriel, Vargas, Medina, Borja, Diaz, Aguillar.
Booked: Alvarez, Arias, Rodriguez, Cuadrado  
The match started at an extraordinarily high pace, both teams creating clear cut chances as Nicolas Otamendi headed over for the hosts before Falcao did the same at the other end.
Messi then broke the deadlock when he whipped a stunning free-kick into the top right corner past a despairing David Ospina.
The visitors almost responded immediately as James Rodriguez crossed for Falcao but his headed effort was wayward once again.
He was made to pay for the miss as Messi turned provider, sending in a brilliant cross for Pratto to dispatch at the far post.
There was nearly a third before half-time for Argentina as Di Maria dispossessed Wilmar Barrios in midfield to go one-on-one with Ospina but his low effort was saved by the Arsenal stopper.
Messi produced another exceptional cross midway through the second half, this one onto the head of Otamendi who headed back towards the far post, but Santiago Arias was on hand to deny Gabriel Mercado what would have been a simple tap-in.
But the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was not done yet.
He stole possession from Jeison Murillo on the far touchline, before storming into the area and squaring for Di Maria to rifle into an empty net.
Rodriguez nearly provided his team with some semblance of consolation in the closing minutes but his free-kick, from almost the exact same spot as Messi's, came back off the upright with Sergio Romero rooted to his spot.
Argentina rise to fifth in the South America World Cup qualifying standings, a point above Colombia.
They could have moved as high as fourth, but Chile defeated Uruguay 3-1
Lucas Pratto rises above a Colombia defender to head past Opsina and double the home team's lead
Lucas Pratto rises above a Colombia defender to head past Opsina and double the home team's lead
The Atletico Mineiro forward got on the end of a stunning cross from Messi at the far post to nod into the corner
The Atletico Mineiro forward got on the end of a stunning cross from Messi at the far post to nod into the corner
Pratto celebrates after scoring a crucial second goal at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario on Tuesday
Pratto celebrates after scoring a crucial second goal at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario on Tuesday
Messi (2nd left) then forced his way into the area before sqauring to Angel Di Maria (3rd left) to smash into an empty net
Messi (2nd left) then forced his way into the area before sqauring to Angel Di Maria (3rd left) to smash into an empty net
Di Maria (left) and Messi (right) embrace after combining to end any hopes of a Colombia comeback
Di Maria (left) and Messi (right) embrace after combining to end any hopes of a Colombia comeback
Real Madrid attacking midfielder James Rodriguez shouts in frustration after conceding a third goal
Real Madrid attacking midfielder James Rodriguez shouts in frustration after conceding a third goal
The South America qualifying table after Argentine defeated Colombia 3-0 



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