Messi brace secures win for Argentina over Peru

Messi on song
Lionel Messi, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring Argentina's first goal . Photo: AFP/ Ernesto Benavides

Lima: Lionel Messi proved he is back to full fitness after scoring both goals in Argentina's 2-0 win over Peru in their 2026 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Messi, who was included in the squad despite having been sidelined in recent weeks with a muscle problem, came on as a substitute in Thursday's 1-0 win over Paraguay but was on the pitch from the start of the game in Lima.

The 36-year-old put the world champions ahead in the 32nd minute with a superb shot after an assist from Nicolas Gonzalez, and made it 2-0 10 minutes later with a fierce finish from Enzo Fernandez's pass.

Messi was denied a hat-trick in the second half after he had a goal disallowed for offside following a VAR review.

In other qualifiers on Tuesday, Uruguay beat Brazil 2-0 with Neymar forced to leave the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

Venezuela cruised past Chile 3-0, Paraguay beat 1-0 Bolivia and Ecuador draw 0-0 against Colombia.

Argentina, who remain top of the CONMEBOL standings, will host Uruguay on November 16 before taking on Brazil five days later.

Peru face Bolivia and Venezuela in the next round of qualifiers.

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