Buenos Aires, March 24 (IANS) Ace forward Lionel Messi helped Argentina beat Chile 1-0 in an intense football match of the South American qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, putting the Albiceleste in the direct qualification zone.
Messi scored the winning goal from a penalty in the 16th minute on Thursday, reports Efe.
The Argentine squad managed to kill two birds with one stone; first, they made their comeback against Chile after La Roja defeated them in the last two Copa America finals.
Secondly, Argentina climbed to third place with 22 points, one less than Uruguay and eight behind Brazil, putting the Albiceleste in the direct qualification zone for the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Chile dropped to sixth place with 20 points, outside the qualifying zone.
The encounter was marked by tension and pressure from both teams, and began with a cancelled offside goal for Chile, but stayed goalless after Messi's penalty goal, despite various attempts at scoring.
In the next round, Argentina will visit Bolivia on Tuesday in La Paz, while Chile will host Venezuela in Santiago.