Argentina have secured a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals after beating Australia 2-1 in a tight encounter at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
The game was expected to be an easy ride for Argentina but their opponents, Australia proved to be more formidable than they were given credit for.
Despite their doggedness, Australia were undone by Argentina’s star man, Lionel Messi who was playing the 1000th game of his distinguished career.
Magical Messi makes the difference
The game went as expected in the early stages with Argentina enjoying the majority of the possession but failing to find a way through Australia’s impressive low block.
Eventually, they found a way and it was through an all too familiar source, Lionel Messi who picked up the ball inside the area, before curling a pinpoint effort into the bottom right corner.
The goal was Messi’s first ever in the World Cup knockout stages in what was a night of milestones for him as he made his 100th appearance as captain of his national team.
Argentina continued to probe for a second goal in the second half and they got it in the 57th minute when Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan was dispossessed just outside of the six-yard box, allowing Julián Álvarez to steal in and smartly convert.
Australia pulled one back in the 77th minute after Craig Goodwin’s shot deflected off Enzo Fernandez and into the back of the net to leave Emiliano Martinez stranded.
The goal gave Australia hope of a late comeback but the equaliser never came despite the Socceroos improving significantly in the dying minutes.