Brazil win big as Messi puts Argentina back on track

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Messi saves Argentina again
  • Post published:March 24, 2017

Brazil powered past Uruguay 4-1 to move to within touching distance of a World Cup spot, while Lionel Messi once again saved Argentina.

A superb hat-trick from China-based midfielder Paulinho saw Brazil cruise past the Uruguayans in Montevideo, and take their lead at the top of the conference to seven points.

Uruguay went ahead after nine minutes when Edinson Cavani converted the spot kick he earned, but it was one-way traffic from then on as Paulinho lashed one into the top corner from 25-yards. Philippe Coutinho’s shot was poked home by Paulinho to make it two, before Neymar’s moment of brilliance made it 3-1 with 15 minutes to play.

Paulinho completed his hat-trick in injury time, turning in a low cross with his chest to cap a fine display.

Uruguay remain in second place in the standings.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina had Messi to thank as he scored the game’s only goal in a what was somewhat of a must-win clash against Copa America holders Chile.

Messi converted a 16th minute penalty in the game’s only goal.

The win leaves Argentina in third place overall in the 10-team qualifying competition, with 22 points from 13 games.