Lionel Messi was the star of the show for Argentina yet again
Riding on an excellent hat-trick from Lionel Messi, Argentina secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Bolivia during their 2022 World Cup qualifier. The reigning Copa America champions took to the field backed by their devoted supporters at the El Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires and did not disappoint.
Lionel Messi wasted no time in establishing his authority in the game and broke the deadlock for Argentina in the 14th minute. The 34-year-old produced a clever nutmeg on a Bolivia defender before unleashing a lethal curling effort beyond the reach of the visitors’ goalkeeper Carlos Lampe.
As soon as the ball left his feet, Lionel Messi knew it was destined for the far corner. The Argentina captain celebrated the opening goal by kissing the badge. Lautaro Martinez had a goal disallowed in the first half and also ended up squandering a gilt-edged chance set up by Lionel Messi six minutes before the interval.
Argentina doubled their advantage in the 64th minute as Lionel Messi produced a one-two exchange with Martinez before firing home from close range. Notably, the Paris Saint-Germain forward also had a goal ruled out due to offside before eventually grabbing his hat-trick in the 88th minute.
Lionel Messi hammered the final nail in the coffin for Bolivia after capitalizing on a rebound. Bolivian shot-stopper Lampe parried a shot from just outside the box, but it fell kindly to Messi, who stayed onside to tuck it away.
Following the win, Argentina continue to remain second behind rivals Brazil in their group for the 2022 World Cup qualification. La Albiceleste have 18 points compared to Brazil’s 24 after eight games each.
Lionel Messi sheds tears of joy after Argentina trophy parade
The win over Bolivia was special for Lionel Messi for two reasons. In addition to scripting history by surpassing Pele to become the leading South American goalscorer in international football, he also celebrated the Copa America triumph with fans.
It was truly a special occasion both on and off the pitch and Lionel Messi could not hold back his emotions. The Argentina stalwart was pictured in tears of joy as he took part in the trophy parade for the fans present inside the stadium.
In an interaction, Lionel Messi told ESPN:
“I have peace of mind of having achieved the dream that has been denied to me so many times. It was like a dream, a spectacular moment. I couldn’t believe it had happened.””I enjoy watching the images now more than at the time as I was in a daze. I didn’t quite understand what was happening.””Everything I won was important and beautiful, but this was the most difficult because I went through many things … it was knock after knock.”
The hat-trick on the night proved to be Lionel Messi’s seventh for Argentina, taking his overall goal tally to 79 in 153 appearances.