At the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, Lionel Messi’s team began their South American qualification campaign, but they lacked motivation for the whole of the game.
After failing to register a single shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes, Argentina introduced Angel Di Maria to try and turn the game around.
However, it took them till the 78th minute to score the winning goal, and Lionel Messi, as he nearly always seems to do, was the one who made the difference.
The 36-year-old stepped up after Argentina was awarded a free kick from just over 20 yards away and expertly curled the ball over the wall and into the bottom corner.
[VIDEO] Lionel Messi free-kick goal vs Ecuador
هدف الأسطورة ميسي 😍 pic.twitter.com/ZkopzIZfaN
— Messi Xtra (@M30Xtra) September 8, 2023
After the game, Messi spoke to the reporters, saying:
“It was shown in the two friendlies and today, by the points, that this group is not going to relax beyond what it achieved. It was historic, extraordinary.”
“We know that, if we go down a little, they will pass us over. There are going to be tough matches like this. Defeats, surely.”
“We have to be as we are now, with our feet on the ground. Fight every game as we have been fighting since Scaloni started with all this.”