Messi heroics keep Argentina on course

Messi heroics keep Argentina on course

Lionel Messi kept Argentina top of the World Cup qualifiers in South America with a masterful two-goal performance in their 3-0 home victory over Uruguay on Friday.

Messi took his tally in the qualifiers to six with a brilliant free-kick as Argentina continued their progression after a wobbly start where they were defeated in Venezuela and held to a draw at home to Bolivia.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has seen his side pick up 13 points in five matches since, looking more balanced with each match and improving in defence behind a quality attack featuring Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria.

Argentina beat Colombia in November to start their resurgence, but it was also a key match for the defeated side.

Colombia sacked Leonel Alvarez after the loss, replacing him with Argentina's 2006 World Cup coach Jose Pekerman, whose revived side have won their last three matches in style scoring nine goals.

Radamel Falcao scored both goals for a tally of five overall as an impressive Colombia team beat Paraguay 2-0, while Felipe Caicedo also bagged a brace in Ecuador's 3-1 home win over Chile.

Colombia and Ecuador, coached by Colombian Reinaldo Rueda who steered Honduras to the last World Cup finals, are one point behind Argentina in second and third place.