Argentina slip up against Bolivia

Argentina faltered in the absence of Lionel Messi as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier at Estadio Hernando Siles on Tuesday.

  • Bolivia 2 Argentina 0
  • Hosts on top throughout
  • Arce opens scoring with header
  • Funes Mori injured for visitors
  • Martins seals win in second half

Match Summary

Messi was handed a four-match ban by FIFA on the day of the match after he insulted a match official in last week's 1-0 win over Chile, and Edgardo Bauza's side struggled without their talisman in La Paz.

Goals either side of half-time from Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins gave the hosts a deserved three points as they recorded just their third victory of the qualifying campaign.

Full Report

The Albiceleste captain was initially named in Bauza's starting line-up for the clash with La Verde, but the punishment meted out by world football's governing body meant he had to watch from the sidelines instead.

Mauricio Soria's men made the better start at altitude, with Martins directing a header wide of the target before Arce's shot was blocked Mateo Musacchio on the quart-hour mark.

Sergio Romero was then called into action as he parried away a long-range effort from Raul Castro, and the visitors finally threatened when Ever Banega tested Carlos Lampe with a dipping strike that the keeper tipped over the crossbar, while Angel Di Maria forced him into a save moments later after running through on goal.

But Bolivia broke the deadlock on 31 minutes as Arce got away from his marker to head Pablo Escobar's cross past Romero.

Argentina suffered another blow when Ramiro Funes Mori was forced off with a knee injury before half-time and they fell further behind seven minutes into the second half.

Jorge Flores picked out an unmarked Martins at the back post and he thumped the ball into the back of the net. The Wuhan Zall striker nearly added a third for the hosts, but Facundo Roncaglia made a timely block to deny him a brace.

The Argentines, who haven't won in Bolivia since 2005, tried to respond in the closing stages, but the closest they came was a shot from Marcos Acuna that was smartly kept out by Lampe.