MARACAIBO, Venezuela, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Lionel Messi added another superb goal to his collection to help Argentina beat Venezuela 2-0 away in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Messi struck two minutes before halftime after his
Barcelona team mate Gabriel Milito had given Argentina the lead
with his first goal for his country on his 30th appearance.
The win gave Argentina, who have won all 15 meetings with
Venezuela, maximum points from their first two games in the
qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.
Venezuela, the only South American team never to have
played at the World Cup, have three points from two games after
winning in Ecuador on Saturday.
Venezuela striker Giancarlo Maldonado wasted an early
chance for the hosts when he fired over the crossbar after Juan
Arango's incisive pass split the Argentina defence.
Argentina went ahead three minutes when defender Milito
rose to head home Juan Roman Riquelme's free kick.
Riquelme had scored both goals direct from free kicks in
Argentina's 2-0 win over Chile on Saturday.
Venezuela enjoyed plenty of possession but could not find
the final pass and fell further behind two minutes before
Carlos Tevez broke down the right and pulled the ball back
to the edge of the area where Messi breezed by one defender
with his first touch, then unleashed an unstoppable shot past
Venezuela enjoyed a flourish after the break as Juan Arango
broke clear but shot straight at Roberto Abbondanzieri and
Maldonado headed over from a corner.
Messi had the ball in the net again in the 65th minute but
his effort was ruled out for offside.
As the Venezuelan defence opened up, Esteban Cambiasso hit
the post for Argentina 10 minutes from time and debutant
striker German Denis, who came on in the 81st minute, missed an
easy chance in injury time.