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Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi marked his 1000th professional game with a crucial goal in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Australia as they advance to the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Saturday.
Messi, who was playing in his 1000th game at both international and club levels, was also making his 169th appearance for the country.
Argentina’s captain marked the occasion with Argentina’s opener in the 35th minute to give the South Americans a crucial lead before Julian Alverez, who was scoring in back-to-back games doubled their advantage in the 57th minute.
The opening goal which was Messi’s third of the tournament was also his ninth in all world cup appearances breaking the legendary Diego Maradona’s tournament record of nine goals, which now puts him just one behind compatriot Gabriel Batistuta.
Despite scoring at three separate World Cups prior to the 2022 edition it’s the first time that Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) player has scored in a knockout game.
The feat marks a morale boost for Messi going into the next round after previously being denied a goal from the spot in their must-win final group game against Poland.
Despite Enzo Fernadez’s own goal which created some late drama in the 77th minute the two-time champions showed composure to move on toward the last eight.
Argentina will now face the Netherlands in the quarter-finals round of the tournament.