Messi Reboots Argentina's Drive For Russia World Cup

Argentina restored a modicum of credibility to their campaign to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 1-0 win on Thursday night over Chile. Skipper Lionel Messi scored the only goal of the game when he converted a penalty 15 minutes into the clash in Buenos Aires.

The spot kick was awarded after veteran Chile defender Jose Fuenzalida brought down the Paris Saint-Germain striker Angel Di Maria.

Argentina, who have lost three and drawn four of their 13 games, rise to third in the 10 team South American qualifying group with 22 points.

"It was great that we won against a good team," said Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza. "But for me the best thing was the way we fought."

Colombia, the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists, boosted their chances of qualification with a 1-0 win over Bolivia in Barranquilla. Real Madrid striker James Rodriguez was the hero for the hosts. He bundled in the rebound after Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Lampe had saved his 83rd minute penalty.

Colombia are fourth on 21 points with five games remaining. The top four qualify automatically for next year's football fest in Russia while the team that finishes fifth will go into a two leg play-off with a side from the Oceania qualifying group. (RFI) 

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