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Key Events

85'
M. Acuña
Á. Di María
84'
Á. Di María
Goal
84'
L. Messi
Assist
79'
G. Higuaín
L. Pratto
77'
J. Cuadrado
Yellow Card
76'
C. Bacca
R. Falcao
69'
Ramiro Funes Mori
Yellow Card
67'
J. Copete
D. Torres
63'
E. Pérez
É. Banega
59'
É. Álvarez
Yellow Card
46'
M. Torres
W. Barrios
37'
É. Banega
Yellow Card
31'
S. Arias
Yellow Card
29'
G. Mercado
Yellow Card
29'
J. Rodríguez
Yellow Card
28'
L. Pratto
Yellow Card
23'
L. Messi
Assist
23'
L. Pratto
Goal
10'
L. Messi
Goal
3
4
3
4

Stats

Possession
% %
4
8
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 5 0
Total Passes 346 412

Commentary

That's all for our live coverage from San Juan, thanks for following along. Goodbye!
Lionel Messi scored a sensational free-kick and added two assists as the Albiceleste pick up a crucial three points to revive their qualifying campaign. It was his goal that opened the scoring, before serving up the second and third on a platter for Lucas Pratto and Angel di Maria respectively.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: ARGENTINA 3-0 COLOMBIA.
90' + 2' OFF THE POST! From a nearly identical spot to where Messi scored from in the first half, James comes agonisingly close to providing Colombia with a bit of consolation from a free-kick of his own, but his effort smacks off the woodwork with Romero rooted to his spot!
90' There will be two minutes added on at the end of this match.
89' What a response this has been from Argentina and Lionel Messi in particular. He had the wolves after him following a string of poor performances, while Bauza's job and Argentina's qualifying hopes were hanging in the balance following a 3-0 defeat to Brazil on Thursday, but they've completely flipped the script here tonight.
87' STAT: Argentina are winless in their last four qualifying matches (D2, L2). They have not gone five without a victory since 2007-2008 (D4, L1).
M. Acuña
Á. Di María
Argentina
85' Argentina's final change sees Marcos Acuna replace Di Maria.
Á. Di María
Goal
Argentina
84' THREE POINTS WRAPPED UP IN STYLE! Messi the architecht again, stripping Murillo of possession on the far touchline, sprinting into the area and squaring for Di Maria who hammers it into the empty net!
L. Messi
Assist
Argentina
84' Two assists for Messi now to go with his goal.
83' Better, this, from Colombia. Cuadrado's corner is an inviting one, but Murillo's header deflects behind for another. The resulting delivery comes to nothing, but pressure stays on before Copete flashes a shot wide of the far post from 20 yards.
81' Colombia aren't showing any signs of being able to trouble Argentina over these final 10 minutes, with the three points looking all but secured now for the Albiceleste. Bacca's arrival has provided a bit of a spark, but nothing still to test Romero.
G. Higuaín
L. Pratto
Argentina
79' Argentina's second switch sees Gonzalo Higuain come on for Pratto, who walks off to a loud ovation.
J. Cuadrado
Yellow Card
Colombia
77' Cuadrado joins the yellow card parade, taking the tally up to eight now.
C. Bacca
R. Falcao
Colombia
76' Carlos Bacca finally enters the fray, but it's Falcao who's replaced. Like for like here from Pekerman.
74' STAT: Colombia have won just two of their last 15 matches against Argentina.
72' VITAL CLEARANCE! Messi places yet another exceptional cross into the area, this one onto the head of Otamendi who heads back towards the far post, but Arias is there to intervene and boot the ball to safety, denying Mercado what would have been a simple tap-in.
71' Still very few signs of life from Colombia as we enter the last 20 minutes. It's Argentina who are looking like scoring next, in fact, as Pratto wins a free-kick on the edge of the area following a foul by Murillo.
Ramiro Funes Mori
Yellow Card
Argentina
69' Funes Mori goes through the back of Falcao in the air and that takes the yellow card count up to seven.
68' OFF THE POST! Di Maria makes strides down the left and gets on the end of a tidy break from the hosts, but his shot from a difficult angle comes crashing off the outside of the post and behind for a goal-kick!
J. Copete
D. Torres
Colombia
67' A second change for Colombia sees Santos striker Jonathan Copete make his international debut, replacing Torres.
65' STAT: Only Bolivia (9) had scored fewer than the 11 goals managed by Argentina through 11 qualifying matches in South America.
E. Pérez
É. Banega
Argentina
63' Argentina make their first change as Enzo Perez replaces Banega.
61' OFFSIDE! Better there from Colombia, as Falcao gets on the end of a clever one-two with James, but the striker was miles offside when the return pass was played in. If anything it's a slight source of motivation, but that's not going to cut it.
59' Colombia are completely out of ideas in possession. They are too spread out and there's been no link between attack and midfield, with James struggling to get involved out on the left.
É. Álvarez
Yellow Card
Colombia
59' Balanta has been testing the referee's patience throughout, and he finally goes into the book here. Make that six yellows on the night now.
56' There's been little tempo to speak of in this second half, and no chances to speak of either. Argentina have no need to push the pace at all, so this will be just fine for them, but Colombia have to start showing a bit of urgency.
54' Colombia have Carlos Bacca idly sitting by on the bench and you have to wonder how much longer Pekerman will wait to bring him on, if he does at all. Falcao has had a tough task trying to fight for space up top as the lone target man. He could really use a strike partner.
52' STAT: Argentina have never lost a World Cup qualifying match at home to Colombia (W3, D1). Colombia have never scored in a qualifying match in Argentina, conceding five.
50' Routine from Ospina who collects a rather tame strike from distance from Biglia, but it's another warning for Colombia. Argentina have picked off at the start here where they left off in the first half.
48' Nervy moments at the back for Colombia as Davinson Sanchez slips, allowing a cross to glance through the danger area, but luckily for the young centre-half Pratto had slowed his pursuit so it winds up coming to nothing.
46' Back underway in San Juan!
M. Torres
W. Barrios
Colombia
46' Macnelly Torres replaces Barrios at the break.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring with a stunning free-kick and then served the second up on a platter for Lucas Pratto, as Argentina are riding high in San Juan after 45 minutes, producing one of their best halves of qualifying thus far in what was largely considered a must-win game for them.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 2-0 COLOMBIA.
45' There will be one minute added on at the end of this first half.
43' There's a real hunger in this Argentina team compared to what we saw last week in Brazil. The two performances are polar opposites, in fact - completely unrecognisable. It was clear they needed to find some urgency and introduce it in their play, but it wasn't entirely clear if they were capable of it, based on the last few showings.
41' The tempo has really fizzled out here as we enter the last five minutes of the first half. In fact, it's all been a bit cagey since Pratto's second goal, with nothing but the foul count rising. Argentina are knocking it around comfortably at the moment, near the halfway line, as the match limps towards half-time.
39' STAT: There had previously been just one goal scored in the last three meetings between these two sides.
É. Banega
Yellow Card
Argentina
37' Banega's name is the latest to go into the referee's book. He picks up the fifth yellow of the first half, this one for tripping up Cuadrado.
35' Big call there! James chases down a ball over the top and looks to have Funes Mori beaten for pace. The ball comes down and knocks off the hand of the centre-half before running all the way back to Romero, but no handball is given. It may have been accidental, but that's was a real tough break for Colombia given the circumstances of the attack.
33' Dreadful back-pass from Barrios who sells Davinson Sanchez short, allowing Di Maria in on goal, but the PSG attacker can only muster a tame effort that Ospina saves comfortably at his near post.
S. Arias
Yellow Card
Colombia
31' Arias into the book now! This one for a high boot as he nearly clips the face of Messi, who was lowering his head to try and knock a ball forward in fairness.
G. Mercado
Yellow Card
Argentina
29' Tempers flair here as James gets up and goes straight after Mercado, who just took him to ground with a really cynical challenge. Both players receive yellow for their role.
J. Rodríguez
Yellow Card
Colombia
29' James' booking was for how he reacted, but it's hard to really blame him after a challenge of that kind.
L. Pratto
Yellow Card
Argentina
28' It's all getting a bit out of hand here, as Pratto picks up the first yellow of the match for a poor challenge high up the pitch.
25' STAT: Colombia have scored just one goal in their last six matches against Argentina. The Albicelesta have four over that span.
L. Messi
Assist
Argentina
23' A stellar cross from Messi who picks up the assist.
L. Pratto
Goal
Argentina
23' ARGENTINA RUNNING RIOT! Bauza's decision to start Pratto ahead of Higuain pays off, as the striker meets an absolutely gorgeous cross from Messi and heads back across the grain, and in at the far post!
22' Meanwhile, play comes to a halt as Mascherano requires a bit of attention as he's been cut open under the eye. It's already resulted in a bit of swelling, though it isn't the biggest gash by any means, so he should be able to be patched up and rejoin the fray shortly.
20' CLOSE! Colombia win a free-kick on the left flank, in prime position for James to whip in a cross, which he does accordingly here. He picks out the head of Falcao, who did well to rise above his marker, but sends his effort crashing onto the roof of the net!
18' The most relieved man in the stadium right now might actually be Argentina's coach, Edgardo Bauza, who is rumoured to be on the chopping block should Argentina not win tonight. Still plenty of time to play, but he couldn't have dreamt up a much better start.
16' Colombia have yet to find their footing and it's looking rather ominous for them as a result. They're organising themselves well in defence, preventing Argentina from creating much from open play, but their inability to win the ball back will have to be a concern for Pekerman.
14' These Argentina supporters and players alike have been rejuvenated. Oh how they needed that. Confidently now they knock it around in midfield, with Messi especially lively as Colombia struggle a great deal to try and win it back.
12' STAT: The last two meetings between these teams in Argentina ended 0-0 (a 2013 World Cup qualifier and a 2011 Copa America match).
L. Messi
Goal
Argentina
10' WELL ISN'T THAT SPECIAL! You literally can't strike a ball any sweeter than Messi just did, bending and hammering a stunning free-kick off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net from just over 25 yards! You could watch that again and again.
8' CLOSE AT THE OTHER END! A wonderfully inviting little dink into the area from Carlos Sanchez finds the head of Falcao, but the striker fails to time his jump properly as he winds up sending his header over the bar as well!
6' JUST OVER! That's much more like it from Messi, who picks out a peach of a cross for Otamendi from the resulting free-kick, but the centre-half just fails to direct his header on target!
5' Good hold-up play by Falcao, but he completely fails to spot the run of Cuadrado to his right, who would have been in acres of space. Instead he passes it backwards for Carlos Sanchez, who is quickly dispossessed before committing a foul on Banega.
3' An early chance presents itself to Colombia, but Cuadrado skies a shot from the left edge of the penalty area. Otherwise it's been a rather cagey start to proceedings in San Juan.
1' AND WE'RE OFF! Colombia in their yellow tops, attacking right to left, get us underway, with Argentina in their famous pale-blue and white stripes.
In attack, Radamel Falcao leads the line tonight in place of Miguel Borja, with Juan Cuadrado flanking him, not Orlando Berrio. Wilmar Barrios, who crafts his trade playing with Boca Juniors in Argentina, earns his third cap in midfield at the expense of Edwin Cardona, while Macnelly Torres replaces Abel Aguilar.
Jose Pekerman has made a number of adjustments to his team from their scoreless draw with Chile. Injured centre-half Yerry Mina is replaced by Ajax's Davinson Sanchez, who earns his senior debut having enjoyed a terrific start to the season at club level. Also in defence, Eder Alvarez comes in for Farid Diaz at left-back.
Edgardo Bauza makes three changes to Argentina's XI tonight following the 3-0 defeat in Brazil. Lucas Pratto comes in to lead the line with Gonzalo Higuain dropping to the bench, while Ever Banega is brought on to provide more of an attacking punch at the expense of Enzo Perez. The other swap comes at right-back, where Pablo Zabaleta is rested with Gabriel Mercado taking his place.
SUBS: Cardona, Perez, Gonzalez, Copete, Torres, Muriel, Vargas, Medina, Borja, Diaz, Aguillar, Bacca.
COLOMBIA (4-3-3): Ospina; Arias, D. Sanchez, Murillo, Alvarez; Torres, C. Sanchez, Barrios; Cuadrado, James, Falcao.
SUBS: Roncaglia, Rulli, Guzman, Pizarro, Acuna, Perez, Higuain, Demichelis, Correa, Zabaleta, Belluschi, Aguero.
ARGENTINA (4-2-3-1): Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Mas; Biglia, Mascherano; Messi, Banega, Di Maria; Pratto.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Colombia can give their qualifying hopes a real boost with another positive result in San Juan, as they try and separate themselves from the pack in what has become a very congested top half of the table.
In third right now are tonight’s opponents, Colombia, who have proven themselves to be a hard team to beat in qualifying, losing just once in 2016 and that was a narrow 2-1 defeat in Brazil, where Argentina just fell 3-0.
Luckily for them, the other sides have been splitting results, with no one really able to separate themselves from the pack. As a result, while they’re still a point back of fifth place, they could move as high as third with a win tonight.
The Argentinian national side is undergoing some real turmoil amidst a poor run of form that has left them on the outside of the qualifications spots, looking in, entering the final seven matches.
Hello and welcome to live coverage from the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario for this tantilising World Cup qualifier as Argentina host Colombia!
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