Buenos Aires:Â Lionel Messi’s arrival started Argentina to a 2-1 win over Chile in Santiago on Thursday, breathing new life into their South American qualifying effort for the 2018 World Cup.
Messi, who had missed the initial four diversions a year ago with a knee harm, laid on the 24th-minute champ for safeguard Gabriel Mercado after Angel Di Maria had offset Felipe Gutierrez’s opener for Chile.
Argentina, beaten finalists at the last World Cup in Brazil, climbed to fourth in the 10-group bunch on eight focuses from five amusements. The main four qualify naturally for Russia with the fifth-positioned group going into an intercontinental playoff.
“We needed to win in whatever way we could,” Messi told telecasters TyC Sports. “I was happy to be back to offer this gathering of players who some assistance with fighting for each point until the very end.”
Chile, who had beaten Argentina in the Copa America last in Santiago last July, led the pack following 10 minutes when Gutierrez exploited poor safeguarding at a corner to head past goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
The home side commanded the opening quarter of a hour as Argentina attempted to discover their feet however the tide turned when Di Maria twisted a privilege footed shot past Claudio Bravo for the equalizer 10 minutes after the fact.
Argentina then pulled ahead when Messi won a tussle for the ball inside the case and lifted it over to right back Gabriel Mercado, who snared the ball home past Bravo.
Chile drove forward in the second half scanning for the equalizer, holding Messi under tight restraints and Argentina on the back foot.
Fabian Orellana constrained a jumping save from Romero, substitute Mauricio Pinilla hit the side mesh and Alexis Sanchez hit a 90th-minute free kick over the bar however the home side were not able leap forward.
The annihilation leaves Chile in 6th spot on seven focuses, six behind pioneers Ecuador, who required a stoppage-time objective by Angel Mena to protect a 2-2 attract at home to Paraguay.
The draw finished a keep running of four straight wins for Ecuador yet they remain the main unbeaten group in the gathering.
Joining Chile on seven focuses are Colombia, who got a harm time victor from Edwin Cardona to beat Bolivia 3-2.
Peru moved above Bolivia into eighth after Raul Ruidiaz struck a 94th moment equalizer as the hosts battled once again from 2-0 down to grab a 2-2 draw against winless Venezuela in Lima.
Second-put Uruguay play Brazil, who are fifth, in Recife on Friday.