Whether through a stroke of genius or pure dumb luck, Alejandro Sabella appears to have finally figured out his Argentina selection dilemmas. The Albiceleste were absolutely brilliant on Saturday night, steamrolling Ecuador 4-0 at home in Buenos Aires. Lionel Messi finally found space and had teammates making the right runs off the ball in the romp, and he was the clear man of the match.
Sergio Aguero scored the opening goal 20 minutes in off of a through ball by Angel Di Maria, and from there Ecuador fell apart. Messi set up Gonzalo Higuain for his team's second goal in the 30th minute, then combined with Higuain on a goal of his own less than two minutes later to make it 3-0 on the night heading into halftime.
Argentina slowed down a bit in the second half and sat on their 3-0 lead, but still found another goal. Di Maria was the man who scored it, and it was an absolute beauty. He struck an absolute rocket from the edge of the box past Alexander Dominguez, helping Argentina to equal their previous high goal tally in World Cup qualifying.
Messi and Di Maria played similar creative roles between the holding midfielders and strikers and both had absolutely excellent games. Ecuador's midfield offered very little in the way of opposition to them, and their fans will be left wondering why they didn't introduce a true defensive midfielder in place of one of their forwards at home. Messi and Di Maria were often unopposed when they came into the middle, allowing them to set up numerous scoring chances.
The Albiceleste are now top of the qualifying table on points, though they have played one more game than Uruguay. They're sitting out next weekend's round of qualifying matches.