Messi helps Argentina secure World Cup place

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Updated: September 10, 2013

Asuncion, Paraguay (Sports Network) – Argentina booked a spot in next summer’s
World Cup in Brazil as Lionel Messi scored a pair of goals to lead his team to
a 5-2 win at Paraguay on Tuesday.

Argentina kicked off Tuesday’s game knowing that a win over Paraguay would be
enough to secure a spot in the World Cup, and Messi fired his team in front
after just 12 minutes from the penalty spot.

Ariel Nunez leveled the contest for Paraguay five minutes later, but Messi set
up the go-ahead goal for Sergio Aguero in the 32nd minute.

Angel Di Maria made it 3-1 to Argentina when he latched on to a through ball
and slotted his shot past goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez early in the second
half.

Messi was then fouled by Paraguay’s Salustiano Candia inside the area a few
minutes later, and the Barcelona man stepped to the spot and fired home his
second successful penalty kick to extend the lead to 4-1.

Roque Santa Cruz pulled goal back for Paraguay in the 86th, but Maxi Rodriguez
capped the scoring in the 90th for Argentina to put an exclamation point on
the evening.

Colombia failed to clinch a World Cup place after losing 2-0 at Uruguay, which
got goals from Edinson Cavani and Christian Stuani in the last 15 minutes to
greatly improve its World Cup hopes.

The win moves Uruguay level on 22 points with fourth-place Ecuador, which was
held to a 1-1 draw at Bolivia.

Venezuela kept its hopes alive as well after a 3-2 win over Peru, which has
been eliminated with the loss.