Lionel Messi showed one of the most underrated parts of his game in Bolivia 1-2 Argentina


Lionel Messi helped Argentina to an impressive 2-1 win away to Bolivia.

The trip to Estadio Hernando Siles is notorious for being one of the toughest in world football due to its location in the highest capital city on the planet, La Paz, with an altitude exceeding 3,000 metres.

As a result, Argentina entered their second game of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup without having won away to Bolivia in 15 years, which is remarkable considering Messi debuted that year.

Tough trip to Bolivia

That's not to mention the fact Argentina infamously lost 6-1 during Diego Maradona's reign in 2009 despite Messi, Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and Javier Zanetti all playing.

However, the history books were rewritten as Argentina joined Brazil as the only South American nation to begin the CONMEBOL qualifying process with two victories from as many games.

That's not to say the three points came easily, though, because Bolivia actually raced into an early lead with Marcelo Martins Moreno heading home a first-half opener on the counterattack.


Argentina score late winner

But Argentina did enough to ensure the scores were level going into the break, something that can never be underrated in football, with Lautaro Martinez moving to double figures for his country.

The Inter Milan forward looked on course for a fantastic individual goal, only to lose possession, but was rewarded for trying to regain the ball when he deflected an attempted clearance into the net.

And Argentina's patience was rewarded with a winner from Joaquin Correa with just over 10 minutes left on the clock and Messi himself played a crucial role in the game-deciding strike.


Messi's invaluable contribution

Just recently, a video showing exactly why Pep Guardiola once called Messi 'the best defender in the world' went viral and like magic, the Barcelona superstar gave us a contemporary example.

Messi can be seen winning a 50:50 challenge on the right flank, before playing a gorgeous reverse fall through the Bolivia defence, providing the assist for the assist of Correa's match-winner.

Within the space of a few seconds, Messi showed exactly why the defensive side of his game is so underrated as well as his status as one of the world's top three passers - check it out below:

GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

It goes without saying that Messi has had to limit the amount of false nine-like defending that he carries out in recent years because of his age.

But make no mistake that Messi is still willing to defend from the front when the moment calls for it, especially with Argentina when his importance even eclipses that of his role at Barcelona.

Besides, had Messi been simply walking around as he's perpetually accused of doing, then Argentina likely wouldn't have regained possession and snatched themselves a late winner.


It's an impressive contribution that deserves to be acknowledged, though, frankly, Messi might actually be pleased that he wasn't hoovering all the headlines with goals and assists.

After all, Martinez's opener in La Paz was the first World Cup qualifying goal for Argentina scoring by anything other than an own goal or Messi in no less than four years.

Then again, when you're one of the greatest players of all time, you can't go an entire match without making some sort of inspired contribution.

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