Buenos Aires, Messi's team was preparing for a long, tense night at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. Uruguay coach Óscar Tabárez selected a back-five tasked with stopping Argentina's powerful offense and his team created most of the best early opportunities, with Luis Suárez hitting the post once.

But a stroke of luck helped Argentina in the 38th minute. Messi gave an overhead pass in an attempt to assist Nico Gonzalez, who failed to touch it. But the ball gently and unexpectedly passed by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, into the right corner.

Luck once more was on the Argentinian side in the 44th. A series of passing mistakes by both teams gave a clear opportunity to Lautaro Martinez on the edge of the box. Lautaro failed to hit it cleanly, but it was enough to move the ball into the path of a Rodrigo de Paul.

The second half started with Uruguay trying to charge up front with substitutes Edinson Cavani and Darwin Nuñez, but once again Argentina scored. Messi found de Paul on the right flank, and the midfielder sent a low cross into the penalty box. Lautaro Martinez scored from close range.

"I think we are growing a lot in the level of our game," Messi said. "We are now used to having the ball. Tonight was a tough match and we had to win it. It all came out perfectly."

Argentina's next challenge will be against Peru. Uruguay will travel to Brazil, the Spanish MARCA newspaper reported.

Source: Oman News Agency