[VIDEO] Russia 2018: Phenomenal Messi Nets Hat-trick Against Ecuador To Send Argentina To World Cup | Goals

Lionel Messi proved to be Argentina’s saviour as his stunning hat-trick secured a 3-1 victory over Ecuador and World Cup qualification for Russia 2018.

Two-time world champions Argentina were in danger of missing the showpiece tournament for the first time since 1970, having dropped to sixth and outside of the qualifying positions following three consecutive draws.

Those fears became real when Ecuador broke the deadlock after just 38 seconds via Romario Ibarra at altitude in Quito on Tuesday.

But Argentina – who reportedly hired a sorcerer to help bring good energy to the team with their World Cup hopes on the line – fought back as captain and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi singlehandedly booked the country’s ticket to Russia next year, becoming the first player to score 20 goals in CONMEBOL qualifying in the process.

Messi equalised expertly in the 12th minute after combining with Angel Di Maria and his thunderous effort nine minutes later completed the comeback and ensured Argentina led at the break, before he sealed the great escape with a glorious chip just past the hour-mark.

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