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Watch: Brilliant Lionel Messi hat-trick carries Argentina into 2018 World Cup

The Barcelona superstar scored twice inside the opening 20 minutes after Ecuador had stunned the visitors with an opening goal.

Lionel Messi fired Argentina into the World Cup with a brilliant hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Ecuador in Quito that drew a line under a chaotic campaign that had left the two-time champions in danger of failing to qualify.

The Barcelona superstar scored twice inside the opening 20 minutes to give Argentina the lead after Ecuador had stunned the visitors with an opening goal after from Romario Ibarra after 38 seconds.

Messi then completed his hat-trick – the 44th of his dazzling career – with a sublime chip in the second half to seal the victory.

Argentina had started the day outside the automatic qualifying positions, needing to secure their first win in Quito since 2001 to be certain of claiming at least a playoff place.

It looked as if Argentina’s worst fears were set to become a reality after Ibarra’s opening goal in the first minute.

But it was not long before Messi stamped his authority on the game, hauling his team back into the contest with a composed opening goal.

The equaliser came in the 12th minute when Messi darted forward and quickly released Angel Di Maria down the left.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker duly returned the favour as Messi raced into the penalty area to poke home a low finish past Maximo Banguera.

Eight minutes later Messi fired Argentina into the lead with another virtuoso strike, lashing into the top corner.

Messi then completed his hat-trick with a sublime chip in the 62nd minute to make it 3-1.

Watch all three goals here

With inputs from AFP

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.