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Messi scores in 1,000th game as Argentina move to World Cup last 8

Magical Messi on the mark again

DUBAI – Lionel Messi produced a moment of magic on his 1,000th career game as two-time champions Argentina beat Australia to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Messi, 35, was making his 119th appearance for his country and they needed the help of his brilliance to take them through to the next round and a tantalising tie against the Netherlands on Friday.

Argentina had barely threatened in the first half but Paris St-Germain’s Messi stroked in a delightful first-time finish to spark wild celebrations from their fans.

The South American supporters had been on their feet singing all game and they had further delight when Julian Alvarez punished Mat Ryan’s mistake to double their advantage.

Australia had offered very little but surprisingly pulled one back with 13 minutes remaining when substitute Craig Goodwin’s strike took a huge deflection off Enzo Fernandez.

They could have levelled shortly after through Aziz Behich’s incredible solo run, but it was superbly blocked by Lisandro Martinez’s sliding challenge as Argentina edged through. (BBC)

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