Messi inspires Argentina to 3-0 victory over Colombia

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Lionel Messi scored a goal and set up two others as Argentina put their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track with a 3-0 victory over Colombia here on Tuesday.

Messi opened the scoring in the 10th minute at the Bicentenario stadium with a curling free kick that left goalkeeper David Ospina clasping at thin air.

Lucas Pratto made it 2-0 soon after when he met a pinpoint Messi cross with a header that flew in at the far post.

Messi put the result beyond doubt when he dribbled into the box and picked out Angel Di Maria, who rifled his shot passed Ospina from close range.

The result saw Argentina usurp Colombia in the fifth place in the South American zone qualifying standings.

The top four teams at the end of the two-year tournament will book a spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia while the fifth-ranked side will earn a playoff berth, Xinhua reported.

Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez scored two second-half goals as Chile recovered from a goal down to beat Uruguay 3-1 in Santiago.

Eduardo Vargas was also on target for the hosts after Edinson Cavani put the Celeste ahead in the 17th minute.

In other CONMEBOL qualifiers on Tuesday, Bolivia beat Uruguay 1-0 in La Paz and Ecuador routed Venezuela 3-0 in Quito.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan