The on-loan Watford winger was one of four suspended players who had to watch from the sidelines earlier today as their worldwide teammates held Argentina to a 0-0 draw in Buenos Aires to deal another blow to the hopes of Jorge Sampaoli's side of being in Russian Federation next year.
Argentina were already struggling, sitting fifth just behind Peru going into the game, but have now dropped out of even the play-off position's after failing to win at La Bombonera, seeing Chile leap-frog them thanks to a late Alexis Sanchez victor against Ecuador.
Both sides had hit the woodwork and some sublime Messi footwork in the first half saw him evade his marker and curl a shot millimeters wide of the post.
Benedetto shot straight at the keeper and Mascherano saw a long-range effort fly just over as Argentina tried desperately to find a victor.
A few months later, in a home victory over Chile, Messi was banned for four games for verbally abusing an assistant referee, though that ban was overturned after the Barcelona star had already served one match of the suspension.
Peru will need to try and stop Lionel Messi on Thursday.
Fifth-placed Argentina host Peru in their next round of qualifiers, with Jorge Sampaoli's side set to face a play-off with New Zealand.
The Uruguayans are all but assured of qualification however, needing only a draw or a win against lowly Bolivia in Montevideo next week to book their place.
Meanwhile in San Cristóbal, Venezuela held second-placed Uruguay goalless. The Argentines have a poor record in Ecuadoran capital, having lost two matches out of their last three World Cup Qualifiers.
Eduardo Vargas netted his 35th career goal for his country in the 22nd minute, receiving in the centre of the box before side-footing past Ecuador keeper Maximo Banguera.
Chile were down in sixth place before Alexis Sanchez popped up with a late victor against Ecuador to see them rise up to third. Brazil with Neymar has always been qualified.
Peru, who end their campaign at home to Colombia on October 10, head into this week's encounter on the back of three straight wins in qualifying, including a 2-1 home triumph over Uruguay in March.
Colombia were on top throughout and Radamel Falcao's 78th minute goal appeared to have cemented their place in Russian Federation.
Benedetto has been a revelation at Boca, leading the club to the 2016-17 Primera Division title while scoring 21 goals in 25 matches. To make it to the last round and depend on ourselves in a home match to qualify is important.