The Barcelona talisman rose to the occasion as Argentina defeated Ecuador in the quarter-finals.
The Barcelona ace missed a great chance to put La Albiceleste ahead as his shot hit the inside of a post. But he soon made amends by setting up Rodrigo De Paul’s opener.
Messi went on to assist Lautaro Martinez‘s strike in the second half before wrapping up the game with a brilliant free-kick.
Ecuador looked dangerous on occasions, but they failed to make use of the opportunities, while Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was solid between the sticks.
Lionel Scaolni’s side will face Colombia in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
Messi leads the charts for most goal contributions
The 34-year-old has been flawless since the start of Copa America, putting on impressive displays consistently. After tonight’s performance, where he mustered a goal and two assists, he currently leads the chart for most goal contributions of this tournament – 4 goals and 4 assists. Coming off a quite disappointing season with the Blaugrana, the six-time Ballon d’Or looks like a man on a mission to win silverware for the national side.
De Paul continues his impressive form
Rodrigo De Paul has been one of the prominent fixtures in midfield ever since Scaloni took over. And his rich vein of form at Udinese indicated that he would be key for the national side for this edition’s Copa America. The 26-year-old has exceeded his expectations and continues to be the creative outlet for Argentina besides Messi. From scoring the opener to playing a long ball to find Angel Di Maria, who eventually won the foul to set up Messi’s free-kick, De Paul had another flawless performance.
Lautaro Martinez gaining more confidence
Martinez has been facing the heat for his lacklustre displays in the group stage but has managed to get back to his usual self in recent games. After finding the nets against Bolivia, the Inter Milan striker has scored for the second consecutive game against Ecuador. Martinez has the backing of Scaloni to be the focal point in the attack, and he also appears to have a great understanding with captain Messi.