Lionel Messi leaves Ecuador goalkeeper dumbfounded with insane free kick [Video]

Lionel Messi once again stepped up when Argentina needed him by scoring a world-class free kick in their World Cup qualifier against Ecuador.

As the game slowly moved towards a goalless draw, Messi struck a blinder in the 78th minute. Converting crucial minutes into memorable moments, the Argentina skipper struck from just over 20 yards. The 36-year-old flawlessly curled the ball over the wall and into the top-left corner of the net, catching Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez in the tracks where he stood.

As usual the goal left the spectators and fans across the globe in awe of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Watch Lionel Messi’s insane free kick

Even though the Lionel Scaloni-managed Argentina were playing at home at Buenos Aires’ Estadio Monumental, the world champions struggled to make an impact for the majority of the game. Argentina didn’t have a single shot on target during the first half. They brought on Angel Di Maria just past the hour mark in an attempt to change the course of the match before Messi came to their rescue.

Ecuador, who had British record signing Moises Caicedo of Chelsea and former West Ham and Everton striker Enner Valencia in their side, failed to score an equalizer. As a result, Argentina are off to a perfect start in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The late goal on Wednesday not only saw Argentina win the game but also etched Messi’s name in history books. Messi equalled Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez in the list of most goals scored in South American World Cup qualifiers – 29 goals.

After Argentina’s 1-0 victory, Messi said: “It was shown in the two friendlies and today, by the points, that this group is not going to relax beyond what it achieved. It was historic, extraordinary. We know that, if we go down a little, they will pass us over. There are going to be tough matches like this. Defeats, surely. We have to be as we are now, with our feet on the ground. Fight every game as we have been fighting since Scaloni started with all this.”

Argentina’s next game in the ongoing international break is next week when they take on Bolivia on Tuesday at La Paz’s Estadio Hernando Siles.

Messi has been in remarkable form since moving from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami earlier this summer. The Argentinian forward won the Golden Boot award in Inter Miami’s maiden Leagues Cup victory. Messi finished the tournament with 10 goals in seven matches.

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