Argentina conceded after just 37 seconds in their must-win game against Ecuador – but Lionel Messi came to the rescue as his side booked their place at next summer’s World Cup.
Ecuador continued to press in search of an equaliser as Argentina failed to kill the game off, allowing the home side to attack well into the second half.
But it was a moment of brilliance which proved to be the difference.
The Argentina talisman took the ball in space about 40 yards out from goal, weaved his way to the edge of the box and was able to lob Banguera – six yards off his line – as he lost his balance and fell to the floor.
Low points were numerous, and a 2-0 loss to Bolivia in March saw the end of Edgardo Bauza’s short stint as boss as Jorge Sampaoli took the reins.
Since then, three draws put Argentina on the brink of not making the World Cup for the first time since 1970.
They travelled to Quito – a place where they have not won since 2001 – but bagged all three points to guarantee a trip to Russia.