Argentina lose without Messi

Argentina lose without Messi

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Argentina, who were without the suspended Lionel Messi, suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Bolivia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier. The visitors were without the services of Messi, who was serving the first of a four-game ban, while Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala were only named on the bench.

The home side looked lively in the early stages and carved out a couple openings in the first 20 minutes of the half, with Argentina struggled to get their usual game going. It was Bolivia who broke the deadlock in the 31st minute as Juan Arce rose above his marker and sent a powerful header into the back of the net.

Argentina were dealt a blow after 36 minutes when defender Funes Mori was forced off with an injury. He was replaced by Matias Caruzzo. Nonetheless, the visitors could not find a way back into the clash in the remaining stages of the half, as Bolivia headed into the break leading by one goal.

Bolivia doubled their lead in the 52nd minute as Jorge Enrique raced to the byline before pulling the ball back for Marcelo Martins, who smashed home from close range. The visitors responded by introducing Manchester City’s Aguero for Angel Correa four minutes later. Argentina squandered a glorious chance to reduced the deficit after 75 minutes when Angel Di Maria picked out an un-marked Lucas Pratto, who headed wide from close range.

Edgardo Bauza’s charges pushed for a way back into the encounter, but they struggled to carve out chances in the closing stages. The score remained 2-0 to Bolivia at the full-time whistle, while the pressure remains on Argentina, who will be without Messi for their next three qualifiers.

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