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Messi scores in 1,000th career appearance as Argentina defeat Australia 

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Messi scores

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

Messi, 35, was winning his 169th cap for his country and they needed his brilliance to take them through to the next round and a tantalising tie against the Netherlands on Friday.

Australia frustrated Argentina for 35 minutes, sitting deep and compact, allowing no space in behind – Alejandro Gomez’s wild shot that flew way over was the only sniff they had.

But every time Messi got his left boot on the ball there was a buzz of excitement in the stadium, sharp intakes of breath anticipating something special.

And the little magician showcased exactly why he is considered one of the greatest of all time in his landmark game, starting and finishing a move that had blue and white shirts dancing in the stands.

It was his 789th career goal, 94 of those coming for Argentina, and Messi is now the joint top goalscorer in Qatar.

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, whose incredible solo run took him past four players, but his shot was superbly blocked by Lisandro Martinez’s sliding challenge as Argentina edged through.

Credit: bbc.com

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