Lionel Messi’s dramatic late winner in Argentina’s World Cup match against Iran on Saturday rescued one Las Vegas gambler from losing £200,000, ESPN reports.
Messi curled in a stunning finish from outside the area in injury time to seal a 1-0 win in the Group F clash.
That strike, Messi’s second of the tournament in Brazil, came as a relief to the Argentina fans at the stadium Belo Horizonte who are dreaming of a third World Cup triumph for their country, but one punter 6,000 miles away will have felt a mighty weight lift from his shoulders for a very different reason.
An unnamed better staked $230,000 on Argentina to beat Iran at a William Hill outlet at Las Vegas’ Tuscany Casino. Such were the short odds of such a bet, it would only return a profit of $20,000.
According to company spokesman Michael Grodsky, it was the largest wager on the World Cup taken by William Hill, but that did not stop the same customer returning on Friday to put another £70,000 on the same outcome.
That pushed their potential winnings up to £18,000, just shy of 10% of the amount that would be lost if Iran upset the odds and achieved a positive result.
Carlos Queiroz’s side were just minutes away from doing just that, as they resisted the star-studded Argentina attack for the 90 minutes, only to succumb to four-time World Player of the Year Messi’s strike in the first minute of injury time and see one very relieved gambler collect their winnings.