Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Argentina, the reigning world champions, opted to rest star player Lionel Messi for their recent clash against Bolivia in La Paz. However, this decision didn't hinder their success, as they cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over a 10-man Bolivian side.
The triumph allows Argentina to maintain their perfect start to the South American World Cup qualifying campaign.
Messi, who has been busy with his club Inter Miami, took a break from action after expressing fatigue following his crucial goal in the 1-0 win against Ecuador last Thursday. Instead of taking the field, he observed the match from the bench and was not included in the substitute list.
Despite missing their talisman, Argentina displayed a dominant performance, showcasing their offensive forte. Enzo Fernandez, Nicolas Tagliafico, and Nicolas Gonzalez found the back of the net, securing the win for their team.
Chelsea midfielder Fernandez came close to opening the scoring with a remarkable long-range effort that was on target, only to be denied by Bolivia's goalkeeper, Guillermo Viscarra. Viscarra's agile goalkeeping skills were put to the test again as he thwarted a near post strike from Julian Alvarez, who capitalized on some defensive errors.
Argentina took the lead in the 31st minute when Angel Di Maria delivered a precise cross, met by Fernandez, who executed a well-timed run into the box. Bolivia's task became even more challenging eight minutes later when Roberto Fernandez received a red card for a reckless challenge on Cristian Romero.
At halftime, Argentina held a comfortable 2-0 lead, thanks to Tagliafico's header from a floated Di Maria free-kick.
In the second half, Argentina remained in complete control, with Alvarez hitting the post in the 70th minute. Viscarra continued to be busy, making crucial saves to deny efforts from Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria.
Fernandez put the finishing touches on the victory with a left-footed strike seven minutes from the end, capitalizing on more hesitant defending from the home side.
Argentina's impressive win sets the tone for their World Cup qualifying journey, even in the absence of their star player. In other matches on Tuesday, Ecuador hosted Uruguay, Venezuela faced Paraguay, Colombia traveled to Chile, and Brazil took on Peru.