MONTEVIDEO (AFP) - Argentina thanked their Spanish-based legionnaires Leo Messi and Sergio Aguero for returning the two-times world champions to winning ways as both scored in Saturday's 2-1 win over Uruguay. Barcelona's Messi and Atletico Madrid's Aguero put the albiceleste in command with their dual salvo in the opening 13 minutes and that proved enough to end a five-match winlessa run. A recent streak of draws and dearth of goals had left Messi and company playing second fiddle in the South American standings to Paraguay, who preserved their four-point lead with a 1-0 win in Colombia thanks to Salvador Cabanas' early decider which handed the hosts a third straight loss. But Argentina kept the pressure on rivals Brazil, who were playing in Venezuela on Sunday, as they moved onto 16 points from nine games with the qualifying programme now at the half-way stage. A win for Brazil in San Cristobal would bring them back level with their neighbours while Chile were also looking to move onto 16 points with a win Sunday evening in Equador. Only the first four countries are guaranteed a place in the finals in South Africa in two year's time with fifth place only securing the chance of qualification via a playoff against the fourth-placed team from the North, Central America and Caribbean group. The mercurial Messi used his head in nodding Argentina into a sixth-minute lead and Aguero smashed home the second seven minutes later to cheer a 50,000 crowd in the Estadio Monumental after Esteban Cambiasso had hit the post when fed by the industrious Carlos Tevez. But Argentina had to sweat and overcome some nervous moments as they reverted to recent cautious type after Diego Lugano reduced the deficit five minutes before the break from close range. Despite the pressing of Messi, Tevez and Juan Riquelme - and sterling work in the centre by Javier Mascherano - the visitors held firm in a niggly second half which saw a rash of bookings. Messi complained afterwards that Uruguay had tried to smother their hosts in an attempt to eke out a draw. "They came here to stick to us like limpets and that made it very difficult for us," said the Barcelona man, a star of Argentina's summer Olympic success. Aguero noted that "we had to ensure we pulled off a win however we did it. That was the main thing. Now we have to keep on plugging away." Riquelme said he felt Uruguay had been overly "brusque" - but he himself was yellow-carded, albeit for taking a free-kick too quickly for the referee's liking - and will have to sit out the next game with Chile. Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino meanwhile congratulated his men on a tough job well done in Bogota as they maintained their early charge with a sixth win in nine games. "I thought we were excellent at the back and that's what formed the bedrock of this win," said Martino, who saluted Cabanas' goal on his comeback from injury at the Estadio El Campin. "That was a real piece of opportunism from a player who allowed us to get our noses in front early, which meant we could then sit back and rely on quick counter-attacks," Martino concluded. Eduardo Lara, Colombia's new coach following the sacking of Jorge Luis Pinto, complained that the Paraguayans "played with eight, and sometimes nine men behind the ball. And they were very physical" At the wrong end of the table Bolivia moved off the bottom with a 3-0 win over Peru at altitude in La Paz aided by an early brace from local hero Joaquin Botero, who moved ahead of 1960s favourite Victor Ugarte as his country's all-time highest scorer with 17. Ronald Garcia scored a late third against a hapless Peruvian side which is now bottom of the heap - a far cry from its 1978 World Cup finals exploits when a side brilliantly marshalled by Teofilo Cubillas reached the second phase before imploding.