Another failure for Portugal, another big win for Argentina  Cristiano Ronaldo left frustrated once again, this time after a match when the ball refused to go in, Lionel Messi left celebrating in Chile, scoring and leading his team to a quality 2-1 win in Chile.

This was Argentina’s fifth win in six matches, putting them on top of the South American group with 20 points, well ahead of Chile and Uruguay, three points ahead of Ecuador and four points ahead of Colombia. It doesn’t look like things are going to get complicated this time.

Not a brilliant display this time from Argentina, but a clinical one, with the Messi – Di Maria- Higuain triangle working out great. Messi is just thriving under Sabella, and has now scored 14 goals in 14 appearances under the latest head coach of the Abliceleste. Di Maria, who else, set up the second goal for Higuain, who must be worrying Real Madrid heads as he didn’t finish the match, coming off with a hurt ankle.

We wanted the six points from these matches because we thought we could made a very important step toward the world cup. The tournament is very even. There were some results that helped us escape a little bit, but we must keep working. There are some friendly games ahead so we should continue training in order to keep gaining points in March, when the qualification resumes. (Lionel Messi)

This week did feel like a crucial one for Argentina, playing against two very strong teams. Uruguay turned out to be much less than anticipated, following their disastrous performance in Argentina with an even worse showing in Bolivia. Chile are a tough nugget, but inconsistent.

For Portugal? Same old problems, just getting worse. Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 100th appearance for the national side, but that was the only thing happy about Portugal’s 1-1 draw at home, against Northern Ireland. Unlike the Russia match, Portugal were dangerous and full of purpose all match long. Still, sloppiness and a strong defensive showing from the surprising visitors almost gave them a shocking win that would have made things quite complicated in the group.

Helder Postiga made it 1-1, saving a point that no one even considered should be a problem getting. While Ronaldo says he is 100% following the shoulder injury in the Clasico, we’ve seen him have better days. Maybe it’s just the balls not going in, but maybe he’s actually not at the very best of abilities at the moment.

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