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HomeUncategorizedLionel Messi helps Argentina maintain perfect start to 2026 World Cup qualifying

Lionel Messi helps Argentina maintain perfect start to 2026 World Cup qualifying

Lionel Messi got here off the bench and twice struck the woodwork towards Paraguay as an earlier objective set Argentina on their solution to a 3rd consecutive win in South American World Cup qualifying.

A 3rd-minute objective from Nicolas Otamendi was simply sufficient for Lionel Scaloni’s workforce.

Darwin Nunez struck a stoppage time penalty as Uruguay fought again for a 2-2 draw with Colombia in Barranquilla whereas a surprising Eighty fifth-minute equaliser from Eduard Bello earned Venezuela a uncommon attract Brazil.

Ecuador acquired their first factors of those 2026 World Cup qualifiers with a final gasp 2-1 win towards Bolivia.

Messi’s combat for full health inevitably dominated the build-up to Argentina’s try to take care of their 100 per cent file and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner began on the bench with Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez main the assault.

But it surely was veteran defender Otamandi who offered the second of attacking inspiration, assembly a Rodrigo De Paul nook with a superb volley on the again put up.

Atletico Madrid midfielder De Paul went near doubling the lead three minutes earlier than the break when he struck the put up and moments later Nicolas Gonzalez fired simply huge.

Messi changed Alvarez within the 53rd minute as Scaloni regarded to interrupt down a disciplined and effectively organised Paraguay facet however the woodwork foiled their talisman.

An inswinging nook from the suitable virtually snuck in, however struck the put up after which, after profitable a free kick on the sting of the field, Messi curled his shot towards the identical put up.

Venezuela's Eduardo Bello celebrates scoring against Brazil. AP

Venezuela’s Eduardo Bello celebrates scoring towards Brazil. AP

Brazil held by Venezuela

Brazil have by no means misplaced to Venezuela in a aggressive fixture and have solely as soon as earlier than, in 2009, did not beat the ‘Vinotinto’ in World Cup qualifying, however they have been left pissed off after Bello’s sensible late leveller.

Brazil took the lead when Neymar had a shot pushed huge within the forty ninth minute and from the ensuing nook, taken by the striker, Arsenal defender Gabriel rose on the close to put up to angle residence a positive header.

The objective compelled Venezuela right into a extra adventurous strategy and Wilker Angel flashed a header simply huge from a 62nd-minute nook.

Rodrygo then discovered himself in an important place within the field however the Actual Madrid winger blasted his shot into the facet netting.

With 5 minutes left, the house crowd in Cuiaba have been left surprised when Jefferson Savarino whipped in a cross and Bello lept acrobatically to blast a spectacular overhead kick previous Ederson.

The outcome leaves Brazil in second place within the 10-team qualifying standings, two forward of Colombia and two behind Argentina.

Uruguay's forward Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring his team's second goal from the penalty spot. AFP

Uruguay’s ahead Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring his workforce’s second objective from the penalty spot. AFP

Nunez spot on for Uruguay

Colombia paid the value for squandering a collection of probabilities to place the sport to mattress after taking a 2-1 lead within the 52nd minute by means of Mateus Uribe.

James Rodriguez put Colombia forward within the thirty fifth minute, bringing down a cross from Santiago Arias together with his proper foot after which drilling residence together with his left.

Uruguay drew degree only a minute after the restart when Mathias Olivera was left unattended to move residence a Nicolas de la Cruz nook.

However Colombia restored their lead when Luis Diaz burst inside from the left flank and fed Rafael Borre, whose low cross was tucked residence by Uribe.

Rodriguez noticed a low shot from contained in the field strike the put up and a minute later fed Jhon Arias, who clipped his shot towards the bar.

Uruguay escaped with some extent after Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas rushed off his line and collided with Maximiliano Araujo.

Vargas was dismissed for a second yellow card and Liverpool striker Nunez stored his cool to bury the penalty and provides Marcelo Bielsa’s facet a valuable level.

Ecuador's midfielder Kendry Paez celebrates after scoring during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualification football match between Bolivia and Ecuador at the Hernando Siles stadium in La Paz, on October 12, 2023.  (Photo by AIZAR RALDES  /  AFP)

Ecuador’s midfielder Kendry Paez celebrates after scoring in the course of the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualification soccer match between Bolivia and Ecuador on the Hernando Siles stadium in La Paz, on October 12, 2023. (Picture by AIZAR RALDES / AFP)

Paez makes historical past for Ecuador

Kendry Paez, the 16-year-old Ecuadorean prodigy, grew to become the youngest participant to attain in a Conmebol World Cup qualifier when he put his workforce forward towards Bolivia in La Paz with a composed end within the forty fifth minute.

An incredible shot on the flip from Rodrigo Ramallo levelled for Bolivia earlier than a defensive lapse allowed Kevin Rodriguez to seize the winner for Ecuador within the sixth minute of stoppage time to go away Bolivia nonetheless with out a level.

A second half objective from Diego Valdes and a Marcos Lopez stoppage-time personal objective gave Chile a 2-0 win over Peru to go away them in fifth place, degree on 4 factors with Uruguay and Venezuela. Peru and Paraguay are at the moment outdoors the qualifying spots with some extent every.

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