Messi magic: Argentina edges Ecuador 1-0 in thrilling WC qualifier

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Argentina skipper Lionel Messi scored the winning free kick during his 176th appearance for the national side, helping them secure a 1-0 win over Ecuador in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on Friday. Both teams tried to look for scoring opportunities but struggled. The first half was a goalless affair. It was in the 78th minute that Messi stood in front of the ball, knocked it over the wall and slammed it into the top-left area of the net and Ecuador’s goalkeeper Hernan Galindez could not do anything about it. In the next match, Argentina’s skipper will take the pitch once again on Tuesday, facing Bolivia away from home. Messi has been in a brilliant run of form since his arrival to the Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami. The USA side has not lost a single match since his arrival. He has scored 12 goals for both country and club since his arrival to Inter Miami. It captured its first title, the 2023 Leagues Cup and reached the final of the US Open Cup. Messi has scored 11 goals and eight assists in his 11 games for the club. Meanwhile, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said that the plan is to play Messi if he does not have issues with playing. Messi’s last international competition was the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, where he finally lifted the trophy and won his side their first trophy in 36 years and their third.