|Lionel Messi scored a beauty and assisted another as Argentina bounced back from the Saudi defeat to beat Mexico 2-0 to keep their World Cup dreams alive. (Photo credit: GOAL)|
Argentina went into the Latina derby against Mexico with memories of the Saudi Arabia horror but knew what to do. It’s either they win or risk early elimination.
Scaloni’s side had thrown away their 36-game unbeaten run in the World Cup opener and needed to weather the storm, it was looking like a stalemate that will put pressure on the final group game but you know who had the final say at the right time.
Mexico was lucky to escape the Poland game with a draw after Robert Lewandowski missed from the spot and a win would always be hard to come by against Argentina but Gerard Martino’s side needed to try and they did for a sustained period.
Lautaro Martinez got the nod again ahead of Julian Alvarez and Angel Di Maria was lively down the right but nothing of note happened for the two-time world champions until Lionel Messi happened just after the hour mark. The PSG forward received from Di Maria and unleashed a screamer at Guillermo Ochoa.
Mexico had to throw caution in the wind in search of an equalizer; Raul Jimenez came on but it was the Argentine substitute, Enzo Fernandes that got the seal off a Messi assist to send Argentina second on the log having started the day at the bottom of Group C.
In the other group game, Saudi Arabia couldn’t repeat the heroics of last week as they fell to Poland 2-0. Napoli striker Piotr Zielinski opened the scoring six minutes from time in the first half and Lewandowski was gifted his first-ever World Cup goal by a wayward pass by the Saudi goalkeeper.
Poland sits on top but will have to negotiate Argentina in a crunch match that would decide a lot while Mexico and Saudi Arabia still have their fate in their own hands and a great result on the final day could see winners through to the round of 16.