Messi returns for Albiceleste in Belo Horizonte

The qualifying fixture between the two South American giants has centred on Messi and his return to the national team, having missed the past three matches due to a groin injury.

Brazil's Douglas Costa (2-R) is marked by Argentina's Lucas Biglia (R) and Emmanuel Mas during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 10, 2016.

However, the reigning Ballon d'Or victor insisted that Argentina's qualification to the 2018 World Cup still depends on them.

The win Thursday night saw Brazil moving one point clear of Uruguay at the top of the CONMEBOL Standings with 21 points, while Argentina continues to sit in the bottom half of the standing with 16 points.

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"When they hit us hard we struggled to recover", Messi said.

Argentina looked bereft of ideas, and five-time Ballon d'Or victor Messi was forced to drift deeper in order to participate as the game progressed. However a fifth-place finish would mean that they would have to engage in a play-off encounter against an Asian country. I was not at the game but what I saw in Córdoba [for Argentina's game with Paraguay] everyone booed us at the first mistake.

Sergio Aguero replaced Enzo Perez at half time but with Brazil dominant in the second period he had little chance to change the game.

"Within all the bad things and the s*** we are in, we still depend on ourselves".

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"The scars are going to remain but we can only change what happens from now on", midfielder Renato Augusto told reporters after joining up with his team-mates in the central Brazilian city. Ecuador, who stay fourth in the table, momentarily pulled level through Felipe Caicedo, the first goal the Uruguayans have let in at the Estadio Centenario, where they had gone 494 minutes without conceding. After falling behind to an early Cristian Riveros goal, the visitors turned the game around in the second half, courtesy of strikes from Christian Ramos, Edison Flores, Christian Cueva and Edgar Benitez. Both the players happen to be Barcelona team mates and it will be an interesting event to see when they will face each other.

We have to get out of this tough situation.

Peru won their first away game since 2004 with a 4-1 demolition of Paraguay.

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