-
Advertorial
-
FOCUS
-
Guide
-
Lifestyle
-
Tech and Vogue
-
TechandScience
-
CHTF Special
-
Nanhan
-
Futian Today
-
Hit Bravo
-
Special Report
-
Junior Journalist Program
-
World Economy
-
Opinion
-
Diversions
-
Hotels
-
Movies
-
People
-
Person of the week
-
Weekend
-
Photo Highlights
-
Currency Focus
-
Kaleidoscope
-
Tech and Science
-
News Picks
-
Yes Teens
-
Fun
-
Budding Writers
-
Campus
-
Glamour
-
News
-
Digital Paper
-
Food drink
-
Majors_Forum
-
Speak Shenzhen
-
Business_Markets
-
Shopping
-
Travel
-
Restaurants
-
Hotels
-
Investment
-
Yearend Review
-
In depth
-
Leisure Highlights
-
Sports
-
World
-
QINGDAO TODAY
-
Entertainment
-
Business
-
Markets
-
Culture
-
China
-
Shenzhen
-
Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Sports
Messi lifts Argentina to World Cup
    2017-October-12  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

LIONEL MESSI’S three goals lifted Argentina into the World Cup on the last day of South American qualifying, keeping the Albiceleste from missing out for the first time since 1970.

Messi single-handedly resurrected Argentina’s hopes in a 3-1 win over Ecuador in Quito that drew a line under a chaotic campaign that had left the two-time champion in danger of failing to qualify.

The Barcelona superstar scored twice inside the opening 20 minutes to give Argentina the lead after Ecuador had stunned the visitors with an opening goal from Romario Ibarra after 38 seconds.

Messi then completed his hat trick — the 44th of his dazzling career — with a sublime chip in the second half to seal the victory.

The Argentinian superstar can now look forward to his fourth appearance at the World Cup at next year’s finals in Russia, where he will attempt once more to lead his country to an elusive major title.

Since his country’s defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, Messi has twice suffered agony at major tournaments with Argentina, losing the finals of both the 2015 Copa America and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

Messi, who will turn 31 during next year’s World Cup, now has one, perhaps final, chance to emulate his idol Diego Maradona by lifting the World Cup.

Relieved Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli — the third coach appointed during the qualifying campaign — could not avoid expressing his gratitude to Messi following Tuesday’s win.

“Messi doesn’t owe a World Cup to Argentina — football owes a World Cup to Messi,” Sampaoli said.

“He’s the best player in history. This is a team victory. They played a brilliant match.”

Argentina had started the day outside the automatic qualifying positions, needing to secure its first win in Quito since 2001 to be certain of claiming at least a playoff place.

It looked as if Argentina’s worst fears were set to become a reality after Ibarra’s opening goal in the first minute.

But it was not long before Messi stamped his authority on the game, hauling his team back into the contest with a composed opening goal.

The equalizer came in the 12th minute when Messi darted forward and quickly released Angel Di Maria down the left.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker duly returned the favor as Messi raced into the penalty area to poke home a low finish past Maximo Banguera.

Eight minutes later Messi fired Argentina into the lead with another virtuoso strike, lashing into the top corner.

Messi then completed his hat-trick with a sublime chip in the 62nd minute to make it 3-1.

Meanwhile, Chile went from comfortably qualifying for the 2018 World Cup to missing out on the tournament altogether in the space of 90 minutes following its 3-0 defeat to Brazil on Tuesday night in Sao Paulo.

Paulinho and Gabriel Jesus each scored in the second half to power Brazil to the win. The five-time world champion finished qualification as the top country in the South American region. (SD-Agencies)

 

深圳报业集团版权所有, 未经授权禁止复制; Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn