Argentine captain Lionel Messi has guided his country to an uninspiring, yet perfect, home victory over Ecuador in their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
The road to Qatar finally got underway for six of CONMEBOL's ten nations on Thursday.
Earlier in Uruguay, substitute Maxi Gomez scored in added time to give the hosts a 2-1 win over Chile, while Paraguay and Peru drew 2-2.
At an empty La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, home of the famous Boca Juniors, former River Plate star Messi slotted home a spot-kick on 13 minutes but did little else to energise the fans watching at home in a region still hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After Lucas Ocampos was fouled in the box by defender Pervis Estupinan, 33-year-old Messi stepped up and scored his 71st goal in 103 internationals.
La Albiceleste had lost only one of their last eight World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and, although they could not add to the scoreline, never looked in danger of losing a scrappy game.
"It was important to start with a win because we know how difficult the qualifiers are and all the matches are going to be as hard as this one," said Messi, who is yet to win a trophy with his national team.
"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."
Uruguay took the lead six minutes before halftime at the Centenario in Montevideo when Luis Suarez scored a penalty, controversially awarded a after handball and with the aid of the video assistant referee (VAR).
Alexis Sanchez got Chile's equaliser 10 minutes into the second half when he slid an angled shot home with his right foot.
However, Gomez, who had only been on the field five minutes, rifled a shot low into the net two minutes into added time to give the 1930 and 1950 world champions a winning start.
In Asuncion, Peru held Paraguay to a 2-2 draw in a match that came alive in the second half thanks to braces from Andre Carrillo and Angel Romero.
The top four teams in South America's 10-team group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional play-off.