Messi to start against Peru tonight in World Cup qualifying

Messi practicing, to start Argentina Peru

Lionel Messi expects to start tonight in Argentina's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying match against Peru. 

Messi's inclusion means that either Julián Álvarez or Lautaro Martínez will take the bench. Both players started in the 1-nil win against Paraguay last Thursday. In that match, Messi came off the bench early in the second half to help secure the 1-nil lead. He hit the post twice but otherwise put in a subdued performance.  

Can Messi add to his goal tally against Peru?

The GOAT looks to add to his goal tally tonight. Surprisingly, he's only scored one goal against Peru in 8 matches — that strike, or shall we say exquisite nutmeg, took place at the 2007 Copa America. Just look at this: 

Peru fans erupt for Messi

Peruvian fans serenaded “Messi, Messi!” last night when he hopped off the bus and entered the team hotel. He briefly came out to wave to fans to show his appreciation.  

Messi appears to be returning from a prolonged injury during the season's first round of international duty. He reinjured his right hamstring in Inter Miami's match against Toronto on September 20, further delaying his return. 

While Messi still faces a muscular injury, Abiliceleste head coach Lionel Scaloni approved the No. 10 in the starting eleven vs. Peru. 

World Cup champs Argentina lead the continental qualifiers with 9 points, followed by Brazil (7) and Colombia (5). Uruguay, Chile, and Venezuela are tied at 4 points. Bolivia sits at the bottom with zero.

Potential Argentina starting eleven: E Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Messi, L Martinez, Alvarez.

Photo: Twitter/Intermiamifchub

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