Lionel Messi wins the game for Argentina with stunning late free kick Vs Ecuador


Lionel Messi wins the game for Argentina with stunning late free kick

Lionel Messi stepped up once again when Argentina needed him by scoring a stunning late winner in their World Cup qualifying clash against Ecuador.

Lionel Scaloni's side were kicking off their South American qualifying campaign at Buenos Aires' Estadio Monumental, but struggled for inspiration for much of the match.

Argentina didn't have a single shot on target during the first half, and brought on Angel Di Maria just past the hour mark in an attempt to change the course of the match.

But it took them until 78 minutes to score the winning goal - and it was Messi, as he almost always seems to do, who had the defining say.

After Argentina won a free kick from just over 20 yards out, the 36-year-old stepped up and curled the ball perfectly over the wall and into the bottom corner.

You can watch the full clip below.

The goal was trademark Messi - the precise effort to get the ball over the wall, and the curl to match to send it beyond Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez.

The visitors, who had British record signing Moises Caicedo and former West Ham and Everton striker Enner Valencia in their side, couldn't find a response, meaning it was the perfect start to the qualification campaign for Messi and Argentina.

Speaking after his winning goal, Messi told reporters (quotes via Goal): "It was shown in the two friendlies and today, by the points, that this group is not going to relax beyond what it achieved. It was historic, extraordinary.

"We know that, if we go down a little, they will pass us over. There are going to be tough matches like this. Defeats, surely.

"We have to be as we are now, with our feet on the ground. Fight every game as we have been fighting since Scaloni started with all this."

Argentina are in action again on Tuesday when they travel to Bolivia for their second match of South American qualifying.
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