Messi brace leads Argentina to 2-0 win over Peru


Lionel Messi demonstrated his health by scoring both goals in Argentina’s 2-0 win against Peru in a 2026 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

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.

Argentina’s players, according to coach Lionel Scaloni, are on the same wavelength as Messi, who plans to retire before the 2026 World Cup.

Argentina, who leads the CONMEBOL rankings, will play Uruguay on November 16 before hosting Brazil five days later.

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