Lionel Messi and Argentina rebounded from last Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Brazil, beating Colombia by the same scoreline to get their CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.
Messi opened the scoring for La Albiceleste in the 10th minute with a glorious, bending free kick that left Colombia’s David Ospina no chance to make it 1-0.
And the hosts were at it again in the 23rd minute, Messi’s whipped-in cross finding Lucas Pratto, who flicked his headed attempt back across the goalmouth and in at the far post.
The extremely physical encounter continued throughout the second half, with both teams guilty of hard fouls and eight yellow cards handed out in all.
Colombia pushed hard for a goal, but it was Argentina that would strike again, Messi turning Colombia over in their defensive third, dribbling into the penalty area and finding Angel Di Maria at the far post for an easy smash into Ospina’s net.
The win sees Argentina leapfrog Colombia in the qualification table.
Manchester City-bound forward Gabriel Jesus scored one and set up another as Brazil made it six wins in a row with a 2-0 victory over Peru.
Not since qualifying for the 1970 World Cup have Brazil won six South American qualifiers in a row, but Ttie’s side put in another impressive display in Lima to keep a fourth clean sheet in as many games.
Having thrashed rivals Argentina 3-0 last week the Samba Boys might have expected to make light work of Peru, but they were frustrated for the opening 45 minutes.
Jesus, who has agreed a move to the Etihad Stadium in January, finally broke the deadlock in the second half and then set up Renato Augusto late on.
Chile turned in a three-goal fightback to beat Uruguay 3-1 as the South American rivals met for the second time in qualifying, this time in Santiago.
Edinson Cavani opened the scoring for the visitors in the 17th minute, firing home a right-footed shot from a Luis Suarez pass to put Uruguay up early on.
Chile levelled through Eduardo Vargas in first-half injury time, heading home from a Jean Beausejour cross to make it 1-1 at the break.
Alexis Sanchez found the winner in the 60th minute, Beausejour once again the provider as the Arsenal forward struck to pull Chile back in front.
Sanchez scored his second in the 75th minute, Marcelo Diaz setting up the 27-year-old to finish with his left foot from the centre of the area.
Ecuador eased to victory against Venezuela, putting three goals past Rafael Dudamel’s team in the second half to ease to a 3-0 win.
A scoreless first half for the hosts gave way to a second-half onslaught with Arturo Mina Meza, Miller Bolanos and Enner Valencia all getting on the scoresheet.
A late own goal from Gustavo Gomez helped 10-man Bolivia beat Paraguay 1-0. The hosts’ Juan Gabriel Valverde was sent off in the 60th minute for his second yellow card, both for hard fouls against Paraguay.