Lionel Messi produced a moment of trademark magic to help keep Argentina's World Cup hopes alive with victory in a tense encounter against Mexico.
In a cauldron of noise at Lusail Stadium, Messi and Argentina knew defeat would end their hopes of reaching the last 16 after only two games following the stunning loss to Saudi Arabia in their opener.
The tension was mounting as Mexico frustrated Messi in an attritional game, especially in a first half littered with fouls and stoppages that never allowed Argentina to gain any momentum.
Messi changed all that after 64 minutes when he took one touch to control a pass with his left foot before drilling an unerring finish past Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
The masses of Argentina supporters in a crowd of 88,966 went wild in celebration and relief as their World Cup campaign got back on track.
Enzo Fernandez added a superb second with a curling shot into the top corner three minutes from time but it was Messi who made the breakthrough and the difference.
Victory in a tough final Group C game against Poland will send them into the knockout phase.
Poland Beat Saudi Arabia by 2-0
Robert Lewandowski scored the first World Cup goal of his prolific career on Saturday when he netted in Poland's 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia, bursting their bubble following the team's giant-killing act against Argentina.
Barcelona forward Lewandowski made sure Poland took a big step towards the last 16 in Qatar when he rolled home in the 82nd minute after being gifted the ball by Abdulelah Al-Malki. However it was a battle for Czeslaw Michniewicz's side, who were leading at that point thanks to Piotr Zielinski's roofed finish and an incredible double save from Wojciech Szczesny after Salem Al-Dawsari's penalty late in the first half.
Poland leapfrogged the Saudis into first place in Group C, with Lionel Messi's Argentina facing Mexico later on Saturday. Egged on by a vocal crowd, Herve Renard's Saudi team came out with the bit between their teeth and the Poles frequently struggled to handle their aggressive press.
Poland were shown three early yellow cards. Mohamed Kanno had the game's first decent effort on goal, tipped over by Szczesny in the 13th minute.
Lewandowski initially found it hard to get into the game as he was immediately surrounded by a gang of defenders led by Ali Al-Bulayhi, who at one point looked to be heading out of the game after being accidentally studded by the Barca star