Argentina scored twice in three minutes late in the second half, including a curiously mis-hit effort from Lionel Messi, to cement a 3-0 win over Venezuela in Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Buenos Aires.
Argentina had already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar before Friday’s game. Despite that, they were on top throughout against the last-placed side in the South American qualifying group as well as the only one of the 10 South American sides never to reach the World Cup finals.
They got the first goal their constant pressure deserved 10 minutes before half-time when Nicolas Gonzalez knocked home Rodrigo De Paul’s inviting low cross from six meters out.
Substitute and PSG winger Angel Di Maria scored an outrageous second goal in the 79th minute when he ran on to a through pass from De Paul and then chipped the ball over three Venezuelan defenders from outside the box.
The Argentine star Lionel Messi himself got the third three minutes later when he chested down a Di Maria pass before scuffing the ball past a helpless keeper.
“We are very happy,’ said Rodrigo De Paul, “we love playing in this shirt. The best thing about this group is that it treats every game as a final. This is what it’s all about. Never letting up.”