KEY POINTS

  • Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored a goal each Thursday
  • They equaled Ronaldo's record among South American national teams
  • The international break is underway in soccer

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez equaled Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazário’s record during their respective World Cup qualifier match Thursday.

The former FC Barcelona teammates – Messi and Suarez – scored within hours of each other in the ongoing soccer’s international break. It was Suarez who scored first in Uruguay’s controversial 2-1 win over Chile at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo. Around 200-odd kilometers away, in Buenos Aires, Messi converted his penalty into a 1-0 win for Argentina against Ecuador.

With the goals Thursday, Messi and Suarez matched Ronaldo’s record for most goals scored for a South American national team in competitive matches -- 39 goals.

Overall, the Argentina captain has netted more than both Ronaldo (62) and Suarez (60) on the international stage with 71 senior goals to his account.

Teammates no more: Luis Suarez struck up a strong friendship with Lionel Messi at Barcelona, but the Urugayan's transfer to Atletico Madrid has been confirmed Teammates no more: Luis Suarez struck up a strong friendship with Lionel Messi at Barcelona, but the Urugayan has now moved to Atletico Madrid Photo: AFP / PAU BARRENA

It was a tough game for Messi’s Argentina on Thursday as they were playing after a gap of nearly 11 months. Against a strong-willed Ecuador, Messi managed to touch the ball just once inside the opposition’s penalty box – that touch was at the 13th minute when the FC Barcelona icon scored the lone goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win at La Bombonera – the iconic home of Argentine powerhouse club Boca Juniors.

During a post-match interview, Messi defended the poor show put up by his side, saying the win was more important than the performance.

"We knew it was going to be complicated. but the most important thing is that we won and now we have to work to keep growing. It was important to start off with a win because we know how difficult the world cup qualifiers are. The matches are always tough. We hoped the level of play would be different but it's been almost a year since we played together, this was our first game back and the nervousness makes it complicated," said Messi.

Similarly, during Uruguay’s World Cup qualifier fixture against Chile, Suarez had just one shot at the target across the 90 minutes, which was the 39th-minute penalty he had scored. Chile’s Alexis Sanchez netted the equalizer just after the half-time break. Fortunately for Uruguay, 24-year-old forward Maxi Gomez scored an injury-time winner.

Messi and Suarez will next be in action Tuesday during Argentina vs Bolivia and Uruguay vs Ecuador respectively.