WC Qual - CONMEBOL

March 22, 2013

Full-time

Argentina

3 - 0

Venezuela

WC Qual - CONMEBOL

0:00 +00:00, March 23, 2013

Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina 3-0 Venezuela

Two goals from Gonzalo Higuain plus a Lionel Messi penalty handed Argentina a convincing World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela in Buenos Aires on Friday night.

Real Madrid striker Higuain notched in either half, with Barcelona forward Messi converting from the spot a minute before the interval.

The victory consolidated top spot in the South American qualifying zone for the Albiceleste, who remained four points clear of second-placed Colombia and moved six clear of third-spotted Ecuador.

Argentina controlled the tempo from the outset, looking to find gaps in the visitors' defence at every opportunity.

They went close to breaking the deadlock several times only to be denied by Venezuela goalkeeper Daniel Hernandez but, just before the half-hour mark, Primera Division rivals Messi and Higuain linked up to give their country the lead.

Messi supplied the pass which put Higuain through one on one with Hernandez, and the Madrid man made no mistake with a neat cross-shot past Hernandez.

The gulf in quality between the teams became even more evident thereafter and Argentina duly doubled their lead in the 44th minute, Messi despatching the penalty after Venezuela defender Gabriel Cichero had handled the ball inside his area.

Messi was again the provider when Higuain made it 3-0 after 58 minutes, supplying the perfect pass for his colleague to slot home.

Alejandro Sabella's side continue their captain in Bolivia on Tuesday while Venezuela, battling for the fifth place, host Colombia.

Scoring Summary

Argentina Venezuela
Gonzalo Higuaín (29') 
Lionel Messi (pen 45') 
Gonzalo Higuaín (59')