Lionel Messi Leads Argentina To 2-0 Win Over Mexico At World Cup

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Lionel Messi was nearly in tears as he grabbed and shook his jersey in entrance of Argentina’s celebrating followers, then blew a kiss and regarded to the sky.

With one of the necessary targets of his profession, Messi led Argentina to a 2-0 victory over Mexico on Saturday to ignite his workforce’s World Cup possibilities.

His dream of profitable soccer’s largest prize in possible his final try continues to be alive.

“It’s a weight off our shoulders,” Messi mentioned. “It gives us joy and peace of mind to start again.”

Messi took a contact from Angel Di Maria’s move throughout the face of the realm and drove a low shot from 25 meters (yards) into the underside nook to provide Argentina the lead within the sixty fourth minute.

His arms outstretched, he ran towards the workforce’s supporters who have been celebrating behind the purpose and was quickly mobbed by his teammates. He whirled his arms in an emotional response to scoring his 93rd — and maybe most vital — worldwide purpose.

Substitute Enzo Fernandez added a second purpose within the 87th minute, making certain Argentina bounced again from a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia that ranked as one of many World Cup’s largest ever upsets.

“We lived with discomfort and kept the defeat in the opening match in our minds,” Messi mentioned. “The days were very long.

“We were eager to have the chance to turn the situation around and luckily we won.”

Argentina is second in Group C forward of its final match towards first-place Poland on Wednesday, and would possibly must win it to advance.

“We can’t let our guard down now,” Messi mentioned. “All of our matches are finals now. We can’t mess up.”

It was an eighth World Cup purpose for Messi, the identical quantity scored within the match by rival Cristiano Ronaldo and in addition Diego Maradona — the Argentina nice with whom he’s so typically in contrast.

For some, Messi must win the World Cup — the one main title lacking from his assortment — to affix the ranks of Pele and Maradona as soccer’s biggest ever gamers. Because of this win, it may nonetheless occur.

“We already know for many years he is the world’s best player,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni mentioned. “Messi should enjoy this World Cup. All fans enjoy seeing him play.”

Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates with Nahuel Molina after their workforce gained the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Mexico, on the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photograph/Hassan Ammar)

Scaloni made 5 modifications from the Saudi Arabia sport in a bid to inject some extra power into the workforce however initially they made little distinction in what proved to be a tense sport missing in high quality. Argentina’s build-up play was sluggish and Mexico had little drawback snuffing out its opponent’s assaults.

Messi was typically seen strolling across the discipline and principally discovered himself with two defenders on him every time he obtained the ball. Frustration was beginning to present on his face earlier than the primary half had even completed as he implored his teammates to calm down.

Certainly, the purpose Messi scored got here from one of many first occasions he discovered himself in house.

Argentina’s followers contained in the 89,000-seat Lusail Stadium hugged one another. Some cried. Argentina defender Lisandro Martinez fell to the bottom and appeared to bury his face within the turf.

“I don’t think during the match he found many spaces in the last third of the field,” Mexico coach Gerardo Martinez, an Argentine who led his native nation from 2014-16, mentioned of Messi. “But he only needs a few seconds to be the difference.”

Supporters from Argentina celebrate outside Lusail Stadium following their team's 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup group C soccer match in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Supporters from Argentina have a good time outdoors Lusail Stadium following their workforce’s 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup group C soccer match in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photograph/Julio Cortez)

The momentum of the sport modified utterly and Mexico abruptly turned ragged, with substitute striker Julian Alvarez proving way more efficient for Argentina than Lautaro Martinez, the participant he changed.

Fernandez’s purpose was his first for Argentina and it was a superb one. He feigned to go to his left earlier than shifting the ball to his proper foot and curling a shot excessive and past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Argentina’s substitutes poured onto the sector to affix the celebrations on the identical stadium the place there was a lot despair after the surprising loss to Saudi Arabia.

“We knew we had to win today, that another World Cup was starting for us,” Messi mentioned, “and we knew how to do it.”

Mexico midfielder Andres Guardardo turned the sixth male participant to characteristic at 5 World Cups. The 36-year-old follows two Mexicans — Antonio Carbajal and Rafa Marquez — in addition to Lothar Matthaus, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. Guardardo didn’t final the primary half, coming off within the forty second minute due to harm.

Poland leads Argentina and Saudi Arabia by one level with one match to play. Mexico is final and can subsequent face the Saudis.