Lionel Messi helped Argentina get their World Cup qualifying campaign to a good start with a goal against Ecuador in Buenos Aires.
In what was a rather lack-lustre match, Messi scored an early penalty that proved to be the decisive point of the Argentina vs Ecuador clash.
Argentina were scheduled to start their journey to Qatar 2022 in March, but the qualifiers were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi and Argentina finally took to the pitch at the iconic La Bombonera on Thursday. The superstar captain’s 13th-minute penalty was enough to settle the contest in Buenos Aires.
With the goal, the Barca star took his international tally to 71 goals as Argentina extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches.
Messi, Lautaro Martinez and Rodrigo De Paul were in the starting XI for Argentina. Elsewhere, Juventus star Paulo Dybala was a late withdrawal due to a stomach problem.
Asides the penalty, there was no real threat for goals and the Argentina campaign blamed it on the team not playing together for almost a year.
“We hoped the level of play would be different but it has been almost a year since we played together, this was our first game back and the nervousness makes it complicated,” Messi said as quoted by Daily Mail.
For their next outing, Argentina travel to face Bolivia on Tuesday.