Lionel Messi's late free kick lifts Argentina over Ecuador in World Cup qualifier

Messi's free kick proved to be decisive in a narrow win on Thursday


Lionel Messi is inevitable.

Messi's scoring form with Inter Miami has translated over to the September international break, as La Pulga drilled the winner for Argentina in its win vs. Ecuador in 2026 World Cup qualifying action on Thursday.

In the 78th minute with the game tied 0-0, Messi stepped up and bent his free kick to the left that left goalie Hernan Galindez frozen in the middle of the sticks.

The home crowd in Estadio Mas Monumental roared as La Albiceleste held on for the 1-0 win against an up-and-coming Ecuador team that gave the defending World Cup champions a tough test.

Argentina dominated the game statistically but failed to be clinical with its shots. La Albiceleste logged 13 shots in total, though just four hit the target. Ecuador had five shots with three on target, though Argentina dominated possession at 71% as La Tri opted to be conservative in a 5-3-2 shape.

But, as he so often does, Messi found the pivotal breakthrough against a sturdy low block to see his nation claim all three points.

La Albiceleste and Messi will continue their 2026 qualifying journey on Tuesday, Sept. 12, when they head to Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz to face Bolivia.

Lionel Messi’s stellar performance with Inter Miami this summer has benefited these three promising soccer players.
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