Lionel Messi Scores Penalty as Argentina Beat Bolivia in World Cup Qualifier

Tom WebbUK Staff WriterMarch 30, 2016

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Bolivia during their Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup South American Qualifiers' football match in Cordoba, Argentina, on March 29, 2016.    AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA / AFP / JUAN MABROMATA        (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi was at his sparkling best on Tuesday as Argentina claimed a key 2-0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia in Cordoba.

Gabriel Mercado gave the home side the lead after 20 minutes before Messi doubled the lead from the spot 10 minutes later—though there was some debate regarding the referee's decision to award a penalty for what appeared a clean tackle.

#EliminatoriasEnTyC El árbitro vio infracción dentro del área y cobró penal sobre Banega

— TyC Sports (@TyCSports) March 30, 2016

Gol de Messi. Argentina🇦🇷 2-0 Bolivia🇧🇴

— Data AFA (@DataAfa) March 30, 2016

Argentina held out to claim their third win from six qualifiers. Along the way, Messi continued to entertain with an array of fleet-footed dribbles.

Messi dribble vs Bolivia [slo-mo]

— Fiaz Hamsath (@fiazhamsath) March 30, 2016

Lionel Andrés Messi.

— Pedro Dominguez (@pedrominguez_) March 30, 2016

Messi will now return to club action with Barcelona, who face great rivals Real Madrid in El Clasico on Saturday.