Argentina Guns Down Chile 2-1 With Messi’s Return

Argentina gained revenge for the Copa America final defeat by Chile last summer when Lionel Messi inspired teammates to a 2-1 win over Chile to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The in South American giant doubled its goal tally in South American qualifying for the World Cup in beating Copa America champion Chile 2-1 on Thursday.

Barcelona forward, Messi who missed the first four games of the campaign with a knee injury, laid on the 24th-minute winner for defender Gabriel Mercado.

Felipe Gutierrez scored for Chile in the 10th minute, but Angel di Maria leveled for Argentina in the 19th and Gabriel Mercado got another five minutes later.

Argentina, beaten finalists in 2014, are fourth in the 10-team group with the top four qualifying automatically.

It had only two goals in its first four qualifiers, and had to come from behind against Chile.

It was a bad start in qualifying for new Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who replaced Jorge Sampaoli.

Ecuador, the leader in South American qualifying, salvaged a 2-2 draw with Paraguay on Angel Mena’s equalizer in second-half stoppage time.

Paraguay was happy to get away with a point at 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) in Quito.

Enner Valencia gave Ecuador the early lead, but Dario Lezcano scored the next two bridging halftime to give Paraguay hope of a victory.

In La Paz, Bolivia, Edwin Cardona scored in second-half stoppage time for Colombia to edge Bolivia 3-2.

James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca scored first-half goals, and Bolivia rallied in the second half as Colombia got tired in the thin air.

Juan Arce and Alejandro Chumacero scored, before Cardoza netted the winner.

There was another late goal in Peru, where Raul Ruidiaz scored in second-half stoppage time for the home side to draw with Venezuela 2-2.

A first-half penalty from Romulo Otero and Mikel Villanueva’s strike gave the visitors a 2-0 lead before Paolo Guerrero reduced the deficit in the 61st.

Uruguay play away to Brazil on Friday in the northeastern city of Recife.

On Tuesday, it’s: Colombia vs Ecuador, Uruguay vs Peru, Argentina vs Bolivia, Venezuela vs Chile and Paraguay vs Brazil.

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Argentina Guns Down Chile 2-1 With Messi’s Return