Argentina acquired their World Cup qualifying campaign off to the proper begin on Thursday when Lionel Messi’s early penalty gave them a 1-Zero win over Ecuador in a lacklustre match in Buenos Aires.
The Argentine FA piped fan noise across the empty Bombonera stadium and the chants of “Messi! Messi!” have been vindicated as early because the 12th minute when he put Argentina forward from the spot after Lucas Ocampos was fouled contained in the penalty locality.
Argentina had misplaced simply considered one of their last eight World Cup qualifiers towards Ecuador and though they may not add to the scoreline they by no means appeared at risk of dropping in a scrappy game towards restricted opponents.
“It was important to start with a win because we know how difficult the qualifiers are and all the matches are going to be as hard as this one,” Messi mentioned.
With the South American qualifiers twice pushed back from the scheduled begin in March, it was virtually a yr since both workforce had performed a full worldwide and Messi mentioned that inaction contributed to the poor spectacle.
“We hoped the level of play would be different but it’s been almost a year since we played together, this was our first game back and the nervousness makes it complicated,” the Barcelona striker mentioned.
The three factors, nonetheless, have been greater than welcome for a facet that hasn’t gained a significant title since lifting the Copa America in 1993.
The win, which prolonged Argentina’s unbeaten run to eight games below coach Lionel Scaloni, was additionally positive on condition that seven of the beginning line up had by no means performed a World Cup qualifier early on.
Argentina’s subsequent game is on Tuesday towards Bolivia in La Paz, whereas Ecuador return residence to face Uruguay, who beat Chile 2-1 of their opener earlier on Thursday, the similar day.
The prime 4 groups in South America’s 10-team group qualify robotically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed facet goes into an inter-regional playoff.