Barcelona superstar Messi emphatically netted a 30th-minute penalty at the Estadio Mario Kempes in Cordoba as Argentina wrapped up their third consecutive qualifying victory.
Lionel Messi`s spot-kick followed defender Gabriel Mercado putting Argentina ahead after 20 minutes with his second goal in as many games.
The victory cements Argentina`s place in the automatic qualification berths of South America`s round-robin competition with 11 points from six games.
Lionel Messi`s penalty makes him only the second player in Argentinian history to reach a half century of goals for the two-time World Cup winners.
Lionel Messi is now closing in on legendary scorer Gabriel Batistuta`s record of 56 goals set between 1991 and 2002.
|Argentina's all-time leading goalscorers|
|Gabriel Batistuta: 56|
|Lionel Messi: 50|
|Hernan Crespo: 35|
|Diego Maradona: 34|
|Sergio Aguero: 32|