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Argentina v Peru Live Commentary, 06/10/2017

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Estadio Alberto José Armando


Argentina pushed as hard as they could as they put Peru under plenty of pressure from start to finish, but, in the end, they were unable to find a way past their visitors' stubborn back line. Once again, they failed to impress in front of goal, where at times Messi seemed to be the only player truly trying. Another disappointing result has left their World Cup fate largely out of their hands, as they must head into their final qualifying game outside of the top five and in real danger of failing to reach next year's tournament.
What an opportunity for Guerrero! And now Peru have won themselves a late, late free-kick deep inside the Argentina half of the pitch after Guerrero is clumsily fouled by Acuna. The striker steps up and unleashes a great save, but Sergio Romero is just about able to tip it over the crossbar with a strong save.
Another mistimed challenge on Messi presents Argentina with a great opportunity to test Peru with a late free-kick, but Messi can't pick out a team-mate in front of goal and instead chips a cross straight into the hands of Gallese.
Once again, Messi manages to get a shot away from just outside of the visitors' penalty area as Argentina desperately try to find a late goal, but another white and red shirt denies the captain the opportunity to fire his side into the lead with what would surely prove to be a winning goal.
M. Acuña
Yellow Card
Yellow card Marcos Acuña
No, they can't! Messi steps up and unleashes a curling strike, but it's underhit and once again fails to get the better of the Peru wall. Argentina are quickly running out of time...
Messi twists and turns on the edge of the Peru penalty area before being brought down by a clumsy challenge, leaving the referee with no choice but to award the home side a free-kick in an extremely dangerous position. Can they make it count with a late goal?
A pocket of space opens up for Messi just outside of the Peru box and allows the Argentina captain to get a shot away, but, not for the first time this evening, Araujo is there to throw his body in the way of the strike to stop it from testing Gallese.
Flores makes a clever run through the slightly disjointed Argentina back line and into the hosts' penalty area as he latches onto a well-placed pass, but his run forward is slightly mistimed and he's quickly flagged offside.
Another Argentina attacking move fails to result in anything, allowing Polo to break down the right flank before winning Peru a corner that, understandably, they take their time with. It's whipped into the middle of the penalty area and bounces around dangerously, but the home side are just about able to deal with the danger before anyone can get a shot away.
Peru are able to push forward on a rare foray into the Argentina half of the pitch as they try to hit the home side on the break, but a lofted pass up towards Guerrero fails to find the striker and is comfortably dealt with by Otamendi on the edge of the box.
P. Aquino
R. Tapia
Peru have made their third and final substitution, with Tapia making way for Pedro Aquino.
What a strike by Mascherano! The Barcelona man breaks into the Peru half of the pitch and unleashes a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out. It's brilliantly hit and causes all sorts of problems for Gallese, who can't get a hand to the ball but, luckily, isn't beaten by an effort that sails just a yard or so over the top of the crossbar.
Another well-placed cross from Messi sails into the heart of the visitors' penalty area and almost finds Gomez, who goes down theatrically after tangling with Araujo. He quickly appeals for a penalty, but the referee isn't at all interested and waves play on.
Argentina are comfortably bossing possession as they desperately try to find a way in front. However, as has been the case for most of the night, they're struggling to find much joy against a Peru back line that, overall, has remained solid and well-organised. As a result, the home fans are starting to get increasingly restless.
A deep, curling cross flies over to the far post and manages to pick out Benedetto, but this time the striker isn't able to force Gallese into making a save, as Araujo successfully manages to block the effort with the back of his head.
A. Polo
J. Farfán
Peru have made their second switch of the evening, with Andy Polo coming on to take the place of Farfan.
Another great chance for Benedetto! Once again, the Boca Juniors striker darts into the left-hand side of the Peru box and takes on Gallese, but his low shot is fired straight at the goalkeeper and fails to get the better of him at the near post.
Gomez is barged over by Flores, resulting in a free-kick for Argentina in a promising position 25 yards away from the Peru goal. Messi steps up and shoots, but he can't get the better of the stubborn wall camped just in front of him.
E. Pérez
F. Gago
Gago still isn't moving at all well, and he's been forced off to be replaced by Enzo Perez. That's a real shame for recently recalled midfielder.
Gago isn't moving very freely but he's managed to make his way back onto the pitch. The game gets underway once again with an Argentina attacking move, but it fails to come to anything as Peru defend well over on the left wing.
This doesn't look good for Gago. The substitute has only been on the pitch for a few minutes, but he's already gone down with what looks like a nasty injury. He initially gestures to the bench that he needs to go off but then seems to change his mind. He's going to receive medical treatment and see if he can make a quick recovery.
What a miss by Rigoni! Once again, lovely play by Messi sees him skip into the Peru box before squaring a pass across the face of goal. It picks out Rigoni in a pocket of space in front of goal, but, somehow, he ends up poking his first-time shot wide of the far post.
F. Gago
É. Banega
Argentina have made another attacking move, with Banega coming on to replace Fernando Gago.
P. Guerrero
Yellow Card
Guerrero is closed down deep inside the Argentina half of the pitch and ends up losing the ball, resulting in him lashing out at Mercado to become the latest player to pick up a yellow card.
Peru are trying their hardest to break out of their own half of the pitch, but they're struggling to do so against a determined Argentina side. The hosts are doing well to put pressure on their opponents, and they're performing much better than they were before the break.
What a chance for Gomez to make it 1-0! The Atalanta man skips into the visitors' box and latches onto a lovely pass from Messi before shooting, but, somehow, Gallese pulls off a great save to deny the forward the game's opening goal.
Argentina try to find some joy down the right flank, where Rigoni and Mercado attempt to link up just outside of the penalty area. They're unable to do so, however, as a slight mix-up between the two results in the ball bouncing behind for a goal-kick.
W. Cartagena
S. Peña
Peru have made their first alteration of the night, with Pena making way for Wilder Cartagena.
Banega does well to shake off two attempted tackles as he heads towards the edge of the Peru penalty area. He then manages to get a shot away, but his thumping strike is far too powerful and fails to hit its attempted target.
Peru continue knocking the ball around nicely as they try to carve out another chance on goal, but Biglia does well to win the ball back for the hosts before earning a free-kick midway inside their half of the pitch.
Nicolas Otamendi fouls Guerrero over on the left flank, resulting in a free-kick for Peru in a promising position. The ball is whipped into the middle of the Argentina box and manages to pick out Tapia, but the midfielder can't get a shot away and the home side hold on.
And now Biglia goes close to opening the scoring! The newly signed Milan man unleashes a rocket of a strike from 25 yards out that flies towards the roof of the net, but Gallese does really well to tip the ball over the crossbar with another fine save.
Messi hits the post! Benedetto makes a great run into the right-hand side of the Peru penalty area before forcing Gallese into making a good save. The ball then rolls out to Messi, who looks set to fire Argentina into the lead but ends up hitting the woodwork with his deflected first-time shot.
E. Rigoni
Á. Di María
Argentina have made one substitution during the half-time break, with the uncapped Emiliano Rigoni coming on to replace Di Maria.
We're underway once again!
The two teams are making their way back out on to the pitch ahead of the start of the second half.
It isn't quite working for Argentina, who really need to win tonight if they're to avoid heading into their final qualification game outside of the top five and in danger of missing out on next year's World Cup. They've dominated possession and done some good things with it, but, overall, they've struggled to cause too many problems for Peru, who have defended resolutely to frustrate the likes of Messi and Benedetto.
What a chance for Benedetto! A glorious cross from Messi loops right onto the head of Benedetto in front of goal, but the Boca Juniors striker somehow ends up sending his close-range header a few yards over the top of the crossbar.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be just one minute of added time.
Acuna breaks down the left wing before firing a clever pass into the Peru penalty area. Gomez charges towards it and does his best to try and latch onto the ball, but Araujo is there to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick.
That wasn't quite so good from Messi... An attempted cross in from the Barcelona man is well met by the Peru defence and bounces back out to the forward, who quickly shoots but somehow manages to fire his long-range effort out for a throw-in over on the left flank. He got that horribly wrong.
Excellent strike by Messi! The captain cuts onto his left foot 25 yards away from goal and manages to get a shot away after beating three Peru players. The effort looks set to find the top left-hand corner of the net, but a slight deflection sends the strike just wide of the goal.
R. Tapia
Yellow Card
Renato Tapia stretches for a loose ball and catches Banega with a slightly mistimed challenge, making him the latest player to receive a booking.
Benedetto manages to get his head on another decent cross after making a good run towards the far post, but, once again, he's unable to test Gallese with his effort on target and makes life easy for the goalkeeper.
Farfan goes close to opening the scoring! A great low cross from Miguel Trauco flies towards the near post and manages to pick out Farfan, who does well to get a toe on the ball but can only poke it narrowly wide of the near post. That's much better from Peru.
The resulting corner is fired in by Messi and loops right onto the head of Benedetto, who does well to reach the ball ahead of his marker but can only nod a tame effort straight into the hands of Gallese.
Decent strike by Gomez! The Atalanta man easily gets the better of Aldo Corzo over on the left-hand side of the visitors' penalty area before shooting, and it's a strike that forces Gallese into making a smart save with his fingertips.
Peru pile plenty of bodies forward as they try to carve out their first decent chance on goal, but the pace of their attacking move dies down at the vital moment, allowing Argentina to easily snuff out the danger on the edge of their own box.
This time it's Benedetto who bursts into the Peru penalty area as Argentina to push forward once again. He meets the ball well, spins and then tries to work it back to Acuna, but his pass is completely overhit and rolls out for a throw-in.
Papu Gomez makes a clever run into the left-hand side of the Peru box and manages to latch onto a pass forward from Javier Mascherano. He then tries to tap the ball back to Messi, but his attempted pass is overhit and denies the forward the chance to get a shot away.
What a miss by Di Maria! Messi does well to shake off two attempted challenges before poking a pass through to Benedetto. The striker loses the ball but it rolls back to Di Maria, who quickly shoots from the edge of the penalty area but sends his first-time strike high over the crossbar.
J. Farfán
Yellow Card
Farfan charges into Ever Banega and catches the Sevilla midfielder with a slightly high challenge, leaving the referee with little choice but to show him a yellow card.
Argentina come back once again and are eventually able to whip the ball into the box. It's Di Maria who tries to pick out Benedetto with a swerving cross, but it's overhit and flies straight into the hands of Pedro Gallese.
Peru lose the ball midway inside their own half of the pitch and allow Argentina to counter quickly. Messi cuts inside from the right wing and manages to find Biglia, who takes slightly too long on the ball and is closed down before he can work the ball forward to a team-mate.
Di Maria is bundled over on the right flank, resulting in a free-kick for Argentina in a promising position. Messi's curling cross fails to pick out a team-mate but deflects out to Biglia, who quickly shoots but can't guide his strike through the sea of defenders camped in front of him.
A deep cross in from the left wing manages to pick out Jefferson Farfan at the far post, but the forward ends up climbing all over Marcos Acuna as he tries to reach the ball and gives away a free-kick.
L. Biglia
Yellow Card
The yellow card is already out and it's Lucas Biglia who finds himself on the receiving end of the referee's wrath after clattering into Sergio Pena with a high and mistimed challenge as the midfielder tried to break away quickly.
Big chance for Messi! Benedetto darts into the left-hand side of the Peru box and looks set to shoot, but Miguel Araujo is there to blast the ball behind for a corner. It's sent in low by Angel Di Maria and finds Messi, who immediately unleashes a thumping strike that somehow deflects just wide of the goal.
Peru push forward on another attacking move of they try to put some early pressure on the Argentina back line, but Paolo Guerrero is correctly flagged offside just as he sets up Flores to fire in a cross from deep down the left wing.
After a lengthy period on the back foot, Peru are finally able to push forward on their first attack of the game. Edison Flores muscles his way through a group of Argentina defenders before trying to tee up a team-mate with a poked pass into the penalty area, but it's poorly hit and rolls behind for a goal-kick.
Lovely play by Messi sees him dance his way through a sea of white and red shirts as he heads towards the Peru penalty area. He then tries to get a shot away, but the visitors are just about able to deal with the Barcelona man before he can unleash a strike.
Almost an early chance for Benedetto! Gabriel Mercado gets himself into a good position deep down the right flank and swings a wonderful cross into the middle of the box. It manages to find the head of Benedetto, but the striker can't make decent contact with the ball and sends a glancing header over to the opposite wing instead of towards the goal.
After an even start to the game from both sides, it's Argentina who push forward on the game's first attacking move. Lionel Messi cuts inside and skips past his marker before teeing up Dario Benedetto on the edge of the Peru penalty area, but the striker is closed down quickly and immediately loses the ball.
We're off! Peru get us underway, attacking from right to left.
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.
Meanwhile, Peru boss Ricardo Gareca has made three alterations to the team that featured in their last outing, with Carlos Caceda, Christian Ramos and Christian Cueva making way for Miguel Araujo, Sergio Pena and Jefferson Farfan.
Jorge Sampaoli has decided to make five changes to the Argentina side that started the draw against Venezuela, with Gabriel Mercado, Marcos Acuna, Lucas Biglia, Papu Gomez and Dario Benedetto coming into the starting line-up to replace Lautaro Acosta, Federico Fazio, Guido Pizarro, Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi, respectively.
Peru substitutes: Santamaria, Gomez, Cartagena, Ruidiaz, Caceda, Polo, Abram, Advincula, Reyna, Carvallo, Loyola, Aquino.
Peru XI (4-3-3): Gallese; Corzo, Araujo, Rodriguez, Trauco; Pena, Tapia, Yotun; Farfan, Guerrero, Flores.
Argentina substitutes: Fazio, Pezzella, Gago, Perez, Icardi, Guzman, Casco, Rigoni, Salvio, Paredes, Dybala, Marchesin.
Argentina XI (4-2-3-1): Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Mascherano, Acuna; Biglia, Banega; Di Maria, Messi, Gomez; Benedetto.
There’s just under 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this evening…
Peru haven’t beaten Argentina in any of the last 11 meetings between the two sides, with the last time they enjoyed victory coming in the quarter-finals of the Copa America back in June 1997. However, they were a large part of the reason their opponents failed to qualify for the World Cup back in 1970, as a 2-2 draw on this very ground ended La Albiceleste’s hopes of reaching Mexico. Could the same happen again tonight?
Even that isn’t a certainty, and they must now face a Peru side full of confidence and flying high in search of their first appearance at a World Cup since 1982. Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay all tasted defeat against La Blanquirroja in their last three qualifiers, and another victory here tonight would give them an excellent chance of reaching a World Cup very few people are expecting them to feature in.
Last month’s disappointing draw at home to Venezuela means Argentina have failed to win any of their last three competitive games, leaving them with just 24 points after 16 games. At this stage four years ago they had amassed 32 - enough to put them in second spot this time around - but a thoroughly underwhelming qualifying campaign has left them in danger of having to settle for a play-off place at best.
To say tonight’s game is a must-win for Argentina is an understatement, as the hosts desperately need to leave with all three points if they’re to avoid the unthinkable and fail to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1970. A dismal campaign has left them in fifth spot, equal on points with fourth-place Peru but just one ahead of Chile, who are in action against out-of-form Ecuador tonight.
Good evening and welcome to our live text commentary of today’s World Cup 2018 qualifier between Argentina and Peru at La Bombonera.