Lusail, Qatar, 27 November 2022 (dpa/MIA) – Argentina kept their Qatar World Cup hopes alive and avoided a group stage exit as Lionel Messi led them to a 2-0 triumph against Mexico.
After a shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening match, a defeat would see Argentina saying goodbye to the competition before the knock-out stages.
But, in a game in which both sides lacked goal chances and when none of the teams looked close to scoring, top star Messi came up with a spark of brilliance. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner broke the deadlock in the 64th minute after receiving the ball from Angel Di Maria outside the box and unleashing a powerful strike.
It was then Messi who took the corner-kick that ended up with Enzo Fernandez, who curled his effort into the top corner for a stunning goal in the 87th.
Messi now has as many World Cup goals as Argentina great Diego Maradona, with eight, and only Gabriel Batistuta (10) scored more for the Albiceleste at the competition.
Argentina have also improved their record against Mexico and won all the four matchups between both sides at a World Cup. They are now second in Group C with three points, tied with Saudi Arabia and one point behind leaders Poland who beat the Saudis 2-0 in the earlier game.
Mexico, meanwhile, sit bottom of the group with a point. In the final group stage round, the Mexicans meet Saudi Arabia, while Argentina face Poland.