Messi becomes first to score 20 goals in South American World Cup qualifying

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The Argentina star scored twice to become the first player in history to reach 20 World Cup qualifying goals in South America

Lionel Messi has added another record to his ever-growing list of landmark achievements, becoming the first player to net 20 goals in South American World Cup qualifying. 

The Barcelona star reached that mark with two brilliant goals to help his side climb back into the lead against Ecuador after falling behind in the first minute against Ecuador. 

Romario Ibarra had the home side in front 40 seconds in, but with Argentina needing a win to secure a place at the 2018 World Cup, Messi quickly worked his magic, linking up with Ángel Di María in the 12th minute to pull his team level. 

But the 30-year-old wasn't done there. 

Just over seven minutes later he had his nation in front and on pace to claim their place in Russia with a powerful left-footed drive into the corner. 

The second goal was his 20th all-time in World Cup qualifying for Argentina, leaving him as the first man in the region to reach that mark. 

Messi would round off his night with a third goal, giving him 21 in total, but his record was soon matched by a Barcelona team-mate.

Luis Suarez, who started the night on 19 qualifying goals, hit twice in the second half of Uruguay's 4-2 win over Bolivia, leaving the record shared between the Barcelona stars for the time being. 

 

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