Argentina’s men’s national football team beat Peru 2-0 and remains undefeated in the South American Qualifiers. The Albiceleste benefited from the return of captain Lionel Messi, who scored twice to keep his team at the top of the table and also gave his teammates what could arguably be the highest praise coming from him, as he compared them to the historic Barcelona FC team he played on and that won six titles in 2010.
Lionel Scaloni’s squad didn’t start the game in the best way. They appeared hesitant and struggled to carry their technical superiority on the pitch onto the scoreboard. It was actually Peru that had the clearer chances early on. However, once the game’s rhythm settled down, Argentina’s quality emerged.
It was Messi, who was making a return to the starting lineup, who scored the opener in the 31st minute when he volleyed the ball in following a Nicolás González cross to wrap up another of Argentina’s now iconic lightning counters. This was Messi’s first goal against Peru in a World Cup qualifier and it proved to be significant beyond the result itself, as it also crowned him as the competition’s all-time record goalscorer.
Peru seemed to come undone after going down, relinquishing control of the game to the Albiceleste. The second goal came just ten minutes later, with Messi whipping a low shot from a very similar position to get in complete control of the match.
The game lost some of its luster in the second half, as Argentina lowered the intensity and Peru was unable to take advantage of it. The only highlight came in the 59th minute, when what could’ve been a Messi hat-trick to put the cherry on top was disallowed for off-side.
The Argentine captain also made highlights with the comparison to FC Barcelona following the game.
“This team is impressive; it keeps improving game after game. That Barcelona side was the best team in history, but I think this team is really close to that level. Winning the Copa América and the World Cup has a lot of merit. We have great players; it really doesn’t matter who’s on the pitch because we have a very clear style and we enjoy playing together. We hope to stay on this path,” Messi said.
Argentina will make a return in November, when the fifth and sixth fixtures in the South American Qualifiers have them face off against its two closest rivals in the table, Uruguay and Brazil, currently tied second with seven points.