Argentina beat Venezuela 3-1 today at the Olimpico Stadium in Caracas to remain in second place in South American World Cup qualifying after seven matches.
The Copa America champions played with a man advantage after 32 minutes when defender Venezuelan Adrián Martinez was sent off after a harsh tackle on Lionel Messi.
Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time, assisted by Giovanni Lo Celso. Joaquin Correa doubled the lead in the 71st minute from the edge of the box after a quick exchange with Messi and Lautaro. Ángel Correa netted the third from close range three minutes later.
Yeferson Soteldo scored for the hosts from the spot near the final whistle.
“Today we had a great first half and they were down one,” Lautaro said. “After we scored we managed to work with more gaps so we could bring the three points home.”
Argentina’s next match will be against leaders Brazil, who will be missing nine Premier League players, including five frequent starters. The Selecao is playing at Chile later on Thursday and will face its archrival in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Had Argentina lost at Venezuela it would have been overtaken by Ecuador, who beat Paraguay 2-0 hours earlier. Felix Torres scored the first goal in the 88th minute with a header. Michael Estrada netted his in added time. Argentina has 15 points and Ecuador 12 in third place.