Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi scores first-half brace in Argentina-Peru

Messi started the game after being a substitute vs. Paraguay


Argentina’s forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualification football match between Peru and Argentina at the National Stadium in Lima on October 17, 2023. (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP) (Photo by CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi is inevitable.

The Argentine star made his return to Lionel Scaloni's starting XI on Tuesday in 2026 World Cup qualifying action vs. Peru after being a substitute vs. Paraguay on Thursday.

And how did Messi re-announce himself? With two goals in 10 minutes for a first-half brace.

The first came on a transition opportunity in the 32nd minute. Left winger Nico Gonzalez delivered a cutback pass from the left flank that Messi connected with first time, beating goalie Pedro Gallese in mesmerizing fashion.

He added his second 10 minutes later. Left back Nicolas Tagliafico broke Peru's 4-4-2 mid-block with an incisive through ball to Enzo Fernandez, whose cutback pass came off striker Julian Alvarez and to Messi, who once again buried it first time.

The 36-year-old continues to shine, with this game being his first start after returning from a muscular injury.

Lionel Messi’s stellar performance with Inter Miami this summer has benefited these three promising soccer players.
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