Lionel Messi was having quite the quiet night by his lofty standards, strolling around the field at times, even hitting a free kick well over the crossbar as the Argentine fans at the famed Maracana groaned. Often criticized for not coming up on the international stage like he does on the club level, it was shaping up to be another one of those nights.
And then he displayed a trademark Messi moment of brilliance.
Messi worked a give-and-go with second-half substitute Gonzalo Higuain, took on three defenders (two of which collided into one another as they chased him down) and unleashed a low, left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area to give Argentina a 2-0 lead over Bosnia-Herzgovina in the 65th minute and notch the second World Cup goal of his career.
As it turned out, Argentina needed it in a big way, because Vedad Ibisevic's late goal (he starred at St. Louis University) -- the first in Bosnia-Herzegovina's World Cup history -- forced the Albiceleste to hold on for a 2-1 win.
Messi will hope for a return trip to the Maracana and a repeat performance on July 13 for the World Cup final. In the meantime, a massive weight is off his shoulders, as he answered his critics and got on the board with the lights shining at their brightest.
Watch his effort below: