MESSI SCORES 50TH INTERNATIONAL GOAL
World best footballer, Lionel Messi scored his 50th goal for his country in the 2-0 victory against Bolivia. The victory puts Argentina in a good place for world Cup qualification. The game played on Tuesday lifts Argentina a point ahead of Chile and Columbia.
Argentina has garnered eleven points from six games and sits third in the CONCACAF region. Uruguay and Ecuador both have 13 points each. They both place first and second respectively.
In the match against Bolivia, prolific defender Gabriel Mercado opened the scoring with a goal in the 21st minute. He was the same player who scored the winner in the keenly contested 2-1 away victory against Chile.
After Mercado’s goal, Ronald Eguino was fouled by Bolivia’s Ever Banega. Lionel Messi took the spot kick and scored his 499th career goal. With the International goal, he moved within six goals of Gabriel Batistuta’s record for Argentina.
After the game, Lionel Messi told TyC Sports: “This (campaign) is very long and what’s important is that we won and remain on course. I’m happy with goal number 50 but more because we won and this helps to keep growing.”
Argentina’s coach also praised the team for the effort to get maximum points in this round of games in the qualifiers. Gerardo Martino said: “It was fundamental to get the six points. I think we played a serious match and won well.”
Argentina won the match convincingly but squandered several other chances to score more goals. The same team put 12 goals past Bolivia in two friendly matches in 2015.
In the CONCACAF region, only four teams will have automatic qualification for the World Cup finals in Russia come 2018. Currently, Brazil and Paraguay place sixth and seventh respectively, with a point below Chile and Columbia. Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela have 4, 3 and a point respectively.