Lionel Messi scores in Argentina's comeback victory over Venezuela.


Argentina beat Venezuela 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Buenos Aires on Friday, scoring twice in three minutes late in the second half, including a bizarrely mis-hit effort by Lionel Messi.

Argentina had already qualified for the World Cup finals in Qatar prior to Friday's match, and they dominated the game against the bottom-placed team in the South American qualification group, as well as the only one of the ten South American teams to never reach the championships.



Ten minutes before halftime, Nicolas Gonzalez slammed home Rodrigo De Paul's inviting low cross from six meters out to give them the lead they earned.


Substitute Angel Di Maria scored a beautiful second goal in 79 minutes, latching on to a through pass from De Paul and chipping the ball over three Venezuelan defenders from outside the box.



Three minutes later, Messi scored again, chesting down a Di Maria cross before scything the ball past a helpless keeper, Wuilker Farinez.


Venezuela suffered their tenth defeat in their past 12 games, while Argentina extended their unbeaten streak to 30 games dating back to July 2019.

In eight home qualifiers, the home team has never lost to Venezuela, despite missing four players due to COVID-19 quarantine requirements ahead of the suspended game against Brazil in September.



Brazil, Ecuador, and Uruguay will join the two-time world champions and current Copa America winners in Qatar, while Peru, Colombia, and Chile will compete for fifth place and a playoff spot against a side from the Asian confederation.


The last round of games will be held on Tuesday.




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