FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi saved Argentina from missing the 2018 World Cup in Russia by leading his country to a 3-1 victory against Ecuador at Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa, Quito.
Messi scored a brilliant hat trick to seal their spot to next year’s tournament after a came from behind win in Ecuador that ensured them an automatic qualification.
Coach Jorge Samapaoli’s men was in danger in the opening match when Ecuador’s Romario Ibarra scored inside 38 seconds but Messi fought back and manage to equalized the game in the 11th minute.
The 30-year-old Argentine and four-time Ballon d’Or scored his second goal in the 18th minute of the first half with a superb strike to put the team ahead at the break.
Messi completed his 44th career hat-trick with a beautiful kick at the edge of the penalty area after 62 minutes of his best of the game.
“Luckily the nationality of the best player in the world is Argentinian. We must be sure everything does not depend on Leo [Messi] but today he brought his great ability. I told the group: Messi did not owe the World Cup to Argentina, but football owed the World Cup to Messi. We should help him be in the World Cup.” Sampaoli said
PHOTO CREDIT: TheSun