Leo Messi

Joey Barton thinks Ecuador chucked the game v Leo Messi

Ecuador 1 – Leo Messi 3

The nightmare was averted by Leo Messi.

The Barcelona legend produced one of his all-time great performances for Argentina on Tuesday night to seal World Cup qualification.

Argentina headed to the altitude of Quito knowing they had to win to book a spot in Russia next summer.

And the match started terribly for the visitors as Romario Ibarra scored in the first minute of the game.

Messi is Argentina’s hero

But then Leo Messi came into his own, dragging Argentina to the World Cup virtually singlehandedly.

Goals on 12 and 20 ensured that Argentina had some breathing room going into the break.

The icing on the cake came from Messi with a glorious third goal, a chip over Ecuador goalkeeper Maximo Banguera.

This marked Leo Messi’s 44th career hat-trick. 39 for Barcelona. 5 for Argentina.

And, in a nice touch, the hat-trick goal was Messi’s 50th for Argentina since he was been wearing the iconic number 10 shirt.

Joey Barton questions Ecuador’s #23

Did Ecuador throw the game?

That incredibly serious accusation was hinted at by Joey Barton on social media on Wednesday morning.

Barton picked up on Ecuador’s number 23, Dario Aimar.

Aimar was heavily involved in Messi’s first and third goals.

On both occasions the defender, who coincidently plays for Ecuadorian club SC Barcelona, made glaring errors as Messi found the back of the net.

Twitter erupts

Why you need a VPN?
Cut chords:
Watch everything (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu) online using a VPN.
Unlock geoblocking:
A VPN gives you access to the best content from anywhere in the world.
Privacy & security:
A VPN keeps your information private, activity encrypted & data anonymous.
Just $6.67 a month + 3 months free!