Messi inspires Argentina fightback in World Cup qualifier

    Argentina's Lionel Messi was the winner of the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or and is up for the award again this season

    Story highlights

    • Argentina come from behind to beat Colombia 2-1 in 2014 World Cup qualifier
    • The win keeps Argentina second behind Uruguay in the South American group
    • Third-placed Venezuela also on seven points after beating Bolivia 1-0
    • Fourth-placed Ecuador and Chile, in fifth, both secure 2-0 victories
    Lionel Messi inspired Argentina as the two-time world champions came from behind to defeat Colombia 2-1 in a South American World Cup qualifying clash on Tuesday.
    Argentina went 1-0 down in Barranquilla after 44 minutes, when midfielder Javier Mascherano inadvertently deflected Dorlan Pabon's shot into his own net.
    But La Albiceleste rallied in the second half, with two-time world player of the year Messi equalizing after 60 minutes when Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina failed to gather Jose Sosa's cross.
    Substitute Sergio Aguero stole all three points for Argentina with six minutes remaining. The Manchester City striker was first to react when Ospina parried a shot from Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain, with Barcelona star Messi involved in the build-up.
    The result kept Argentina second in the nine-team South American qualifying group, level on seven points with 2011 Copa America winners Uruguay and third-placed Venezuela.
    Uruguay have a game in hand over both rivals, having played only three qualifiers.
    "It was hard," Messi, who was awarded the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010 and is nominated for the accolade again this year, said after the match. "We did not deserve to go a goal behind, as they were not better than us.
    "Sometimes you play better, and other times you have to fight harder. This game was one of those days."
    Venezuela joined Argentina on two wins, a draw and a defeat after beating Bolivia 1-0, with defender Oswaldo Vizcarrondo heading the only goal in the 23rd minute.
    The defeat left visiting Bolivia rock bottom with just one point from four matches.
    Ecuador moved into the fourth and final automatic qualifying spot courtesy of a 2-0 win over Peru in Quito.
    Midfielder Edison Mendez broke the deadlock in the 69th minute after being set up by striker Christian Benitez.
    Benitez, who plays his club football with Mexican outfit America, sealed Ecuador's triumph with a close-range strike in the closing minutes to keep his side unbeaten for 34 years in World Cup ties against Peru.
    Chile climbed above Colombia into fifth place and the one playoff berth after a 2-0 success against Paraguay.
    Claudio Borghi's team lost 4-0 to Uruguay last week, but Chile responded positively and took the lead through defender Pablo Contreras on 27 minutes.
    Fullback Matias Campos sealed victory with five minutes left, as Chile moved onto six points.
    The qualifying group usually has 10 countries, but Brazil's place is already guaranteed as the hosts of the 2014 tournament, when Mano Menezes' team will seek a sixth title.