Messi returned to the starting lineup after being sidelined or sitting on the bench for the previous four weeks due to a muscular ailment. His last start before facing Peru in Lima came on September 20 with Inter Miami against Toronto FC.
The 36-year-old opened the scoring for the world champions in the 32nd minute with a fantastic strike off an assist from Nicolas Gonzalez, then made it 2-0 10 minutes later with a powerful finish off Enzo Fernandez’s ball.
Messi, who was denied a hat-trick in the second half after a goal was disallowed for offside after a VAR review, broke a tie with Uruguay’s Luis Suarez to become CONMEBOL’s highest scorer in World Cup qualifiers with his double.
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