Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Mendoza (Argentina), Oct 13

Lionel Messi scored two second-half goals as Argentina beat Uruguay 3-0 to return to the top of the South American qualifying zone for the 2014 Football World Cup.

After a goalless first half at Estadio Malvinas here Friday, Messi sparked the home side by running onto Angel Di Maria's precise 65th-minute pass and sliding the ball past goalkeeper Fernando Mulsera, Xinhua reports.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero made it 2-0 with another Di Maria cross before Messi scored his second by firing a free-kick under the Uruguay wall 11 minutes from time.

Uruguay's star attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani all started but only the latter managed to offer any danger to Argentina's defence.

"They came here with the intention to defend and hit us on the fast break with their three strikers," Messi said after the match.

"The most important thing is that we won and that we also played well as a team."

Earlier Colombia temporarily replaced Argentina at the top of the standings with a Radamel Falcao-inspired 2-0 victory over Paraguay in the Caribbean port city of Barranquilla.

Falcao broke the deadlock early in the second half after turning around defender Paulo Da Silva and hitting a left-foot shot that curled into top the corner of Diego Barreto's goal.

He then sealed the result by controlling an Elkin Soto pass and chipping over Barreto with another left-sided finish a minute from time.

In the other matches Friday, Bolivia drew 1-1 with Peru in La Paz while Ecuador defeated Chile 3-1 in Quito.

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