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Bolivia v Argentina Live Commentary, 28/03/2017

2 - 0
J. Arce (31)
M. Martins (52)
Estadio Hernando Siles


That's all for our live coverage, thanks for following along. Goodbye!
Goals from Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins secured another famous victory for Bolivia over Argentina in the high altitude of La Paz. The Albiceleste have their work cut out for them now as their qualifying hopes have a definitive aura of uncertainty surrounding them.
B. Miranda
M. Martins
Teenager Bruno Miranda replaces Martins for the final minute.
It's job done for Bolivia now, no doubt about that. The pressure is mounting on Argentina, who will travel to Uruguay next in qualifying, likely entering the match outside of one of the automatic qualifying spot in the standings - and they will be without Lionel Messi.
There will be four minutes added on at the end of this match.
Argentina are completely out of ideas, not that they had many to begin with. They're heaving balls in the general direction of the penalty area, but nothing is coming of it. Their body language suggests they have accepted their inevitable fate tonight.
More time running off the clock now as Zenteno stays down following - well, following nothing really - and requires the stretcher to come on.
J. Campos
D. Wayar
Bolivia's second change is a long one, in the sense that Wayar took his sweet time leaving the pitch - and you could hardly blame him. Jhasmani Campos is on in his place.
STAT: Argentina lost their last away match in qualifying 3-0 in Brazil. They have not lost successive away qualifiers since 2009.
Still no real threat from Argentina, and it's looking entirely unlikely now that they'll be leaving here with anything. At this stage they would gladly settle for a draw, but that would take something of a minor miracle seeing as how they are struggling to even win the ball back at the moment.
To make matters worse for Argentina, the news came in only five hours before kick-off that Argentina will be without Lionel Messi for an extended period, as he picked up a four-match ban. That means he will only be there for their final qualifying match, missing the next three after today - and they have not performed very well without him.
Ask anyone who has played at this altitude before and they will tell you how physically exhausting it is. You might remember Bolivia's famous 6-1 win over Argentina here in 2009, where Messi was spotted throwing up on the touchline during the match. It's a nightmare for players who aren't used to it.
WHAT A CHANCE! An inexcusable miss there, no matter how you look at it! Pratto is unmarked and under no pressure at all when he gets on the end of a cross in from Di Maria, but he heads well wide! He has to be at least hitting the target from there.
L. Justiniano
J. Arce
Bolivia's first change sees Leonel Justiniano replace Arce.
STAT: Bolivia have kept just one clean sheet in their last 38 World Cup qualifying matches, back in November’s 1-0 win at home to Paraguay.
M. Acuña
E. Pérez
A puzzling final swap from Argentina as they bring on a midfielder, Marcos Acuna, with one senior cap, while the likes of Lavezzi and Dybala remain on the bench. Enzo Perez is the one to give way.
NEARLY! It looks like if Argentina are going to find any way back into this game, it will come through Di Maria. The winger steps around his man in the area to open up space, before drilling in a cross that nearly finds Pratto! The striker slid in to meet it, but came up inches short!
D. Wayar
Yellow Card
Wayar goes into the book for a cynical challenge in midfield.
VITAL BLOCK! That's a crucial piece of defending by Roncaglia to deny Martins after another exceptionally worked attack by the hosts. While that was crucial, Argentina need a lot more than that to get back into this game.
Bolivia are doing a professional job of seeing this one out, and it's only going to get harder for Argentina as fatigue becomes almost insurmountable as the match progresses. Every passing minute it becomes harder and harder to catch your breath and find a source of energy in this altitude.
STAT: Bolivia have followed up each of their last six World Cup qualifying victories on home soil with either draw or defeat in their next home match. They last won back-to-back home qualifiers in 2008.
J. Arce
Yellow Card
Yellow card Juan Carlos Arce Justiniano
Argentina have themselves a free-kick in a decent area, just outside the penalty area, to the left of the box. Banega and Di Maria stand over it, but it's the right foot of Banega who takes. He bends in a decent delivery, with good height, but Bolivia clear their lines convincingly.
Argentina are starting to enjoy more possession, something they have not managed much in the first hour. They need to take more risks in attack, committing bodies forward and providing much more support than they have for the man on the ball.
S. Agüero
Á. Correa
Sergio Aguero has come on to try and rescue something, but it's not the boldest of substitutions from Bauza as it's a like-for-like swap with Correa giving way.
Unbridled joy around La Paz, while Argentina are into an all-out panic! They have an uphill climb now with their backs against the wall, and haven't at all looked like scoring tonight, let alone scoring the three they need to claim victory!
J. Flores
Stunning piece of running from the left-back Flores, who provides the assist.
M. Martins
THEY'VE DOUBLED THEIR LEAD! It's a long way back for Argentina now! Flores with a terrific run from his left-back position, sprinting to the byline before picking out a wide-open Martins with his cross. The unmarked striker controls with his first touch, before punishing a finish into the ceiling of the net with his second!
Defeat for Argentina tonight would likely bump them out of the top four once again, leaving their qualification hopes under real threat. They still have to travel to Ecuador and Uruguay in their last four games, so absolutely nothing is a given as in, let alone if they were to lose here today.
Di Maria gets an early chance in this second half with a decent effort, trying to catch the keeper out at his near post. That's an encouraging start from the visitors, but they will need better openings than that to turn this around.
Back underway in La Paz! Argentina took a long time to come out for the second half, stealing some extra rest in order to help their lungs recover from the opening 45 minutes.
An upset on the cards in La Paz as Juan Carlos Arce's goal has Bolivia leading a sluggish, Messi-less Argentina at the interval. Still plenty of football to be played here, but if that first half is any indication, it's going to be tough sledding for the Albiceleste in these conditions.
There will be two minutes added on at the end of this first half.
OUCH! Arce slides to keep a ball in play and his momentum carries him onto the track. He plants a foot to try and halt the slide, but winds up jarring something! He grimaces right away and you can see why. It certainly looked an awkward one.
É. Banega
Yellow Card
Banega can have few complaints, and doesn't, following a very poor challenge near the halfway line that sees him into the book.
M. Andújar
Yellow Card
Well a bit of a weird one here as the referee suddenly halts play and sprints over to the touchline, before showing a yellow card to Argentina's substitute keeper Mariano Andujar.
The tempo has really fizzled out here as we approach the interval. Argentina appear a bit fatigued, with the altitude no doubt getting to them. It can take just 15 minutes often for your lungs to start burning and the air to be sucked out of them this high above sea level.
M. Caruzzo
R. Mori
San Lorenzo defender Matias Caruzzo comes on to replace Funes Mori.
A real worry for Argentina here as Funes Mori goes down in a lot of pain and immediately signals to say he cannot continue. The stretcher comes out and a few substitutes begin warming up. Real shame for the centre-half - hopefully he's alright beyond tonight.
STAT: Argentina have kept clean sheets in each of their last two qualifiers. They have not kept three successive clean sheets in qualifying since October to November 2007.
P. Escobar
Escobar provides the cross and is credited with the assist.
J. Arce
STUNNING HEADER AND BOLIVIA LEAD! The diminutive Arce does absolutely brilliantly to simply over-power Roncaglia to get on the end of a cross, and he sensationally heads in at the near post with his back turned to goal!
LAMPE AT IT AGAIN! The clearest opening of the match for Argentina by a country mile! Correa waltzes forward on the break and threads a terrific ball through for Di Maria, who has only the keeper to beat, but Lampe gets off his line in a flash to close down the angle, before sticking his hands up to make the save!
BETTER! Perhaps one for the cameras, but a great piece of acrobatics from Lampe to parry Banega's effort from distance over the bar. Argentina are coming into their own now.
NOT FAR AWAY! The first chance of the night for Argentina comes through Di Maria, who takes a pass well before lashing a well-struck effort towards goal from 25 yards. He aims for the far post, but drags his effort a yard wide in the end.
One thing Argentina have done well is providing their defence with respite by really slowing the game down when they need to. It has plagued their ability to get forward and attack with any tempo, but their patience on the ball has allowed the defence to catch their breath in this thin air, high above sea level.
You really do have to question Bauza's team selection today. The Argentina manager went with the XI he felt would be best suited in dealing with the altitude, but to leave so much quality out of the side really is a bold move - and not one that's paying off so far, but we'll see how they fare as the match wears on.
Bolivia are keeping their foot on the gas and Argentina have been unable to muster a response. Even when the opportunity for a break looks to be on, the wrong passes are made and it slows everything down.
STAT: Bolivia have lost just three of their last 12 World Cup qualifying matches on home soil, being held scoreless just twice (W4, D5, L3).
SMART SAVE! Castro unloads an effort from 30 yards, striking it low and with real pace. The surface is far from the best, and the ball actually skips up on Romero at the vital moment, but he does really well to adjust and parry at full-stretch!
HOW HAS THAT STAYED OUT?! Chaos in the Argentina penalty area as Bejarano makes strides down the right and cuts the ball back expertly from the byline. Arce gets a free stab at it from five yards, but Musacchio blocks brilliantly, saving a goal, before Martins fails to get his foot to the rebound!
Argentina have yet to negotiate a meaningful, or even close to meaningful, foray into the attacking half. They have hardly had a sniff of the final third and you can see the confidence building in this Bolivia side with each passing minute.
Well Argentina cannot blame this start on the altitude. That certainly wears on you, but the symptoms only get worse as the match wears on. For them to be this sluggish and out of sorts in the first 10 minutes, the real culprit can likely be the bulk of squad rotation.
STAT: Argentina have won just one of their four qualifying matches in La Paz since South America’s adoption of the new format, a narrow 2-1 victory in 2005 (D2, L1).
It's one-way traffic here, and not the way you would have expected. Argentina are yet to get their footing in the match, as Bolivia continue to attack with a real energy about them.
Bolivia look to have negotiated the first opening, but Martins cannot control a pass properly and Argentina are able to recover. Moments later they have a glorious chance again, with Escobar all alone at the far post after a mistake from Funes Mori, but his touch lets him down as well!
Lionel Messi is suspended tonight for his comments directed to the assistant referee following the match against Chile on Thursday in Buenos Aires, and Argentina's record without him in the team is very poor. This will be a real test for them, and they have started sluggishly.
AND THEY'RE OFF! Bolivia in green tops and white shorts as they get us underway, attacking right to left, with Argentina in their classic light blue and white stripes.
Edgardo Bauza has made wholesale changes to his side as well, with just Sergio Romero, Ramiro Funes Mori and Angel di Maria staying in the XI. Mateo Musacchio replaces the suspended Nicolas Otamendi, while Lucas Pratto and Angel Correa form the strike force. Ever Banego and Enzo Perez support the strikers, along with Di Maria, while Guido Pizarro earns his first cap in midfield.
Mauricio Soria has made wholesale changes to his side from the defeat to Colombia on Thursday, with just three outfield players keeping their place in the side in Ronald Raldes, Diego Bejarano and Marcelo Martins. The experienced Juan Carlos Arce and Pablo Escobar come in to support the striker Martins, along with relative newcomer Diego Wayar. Alejandro Chumacero and Raul Castro anchor midfield.
SUBS: Lavezzi, Alario, Marcone, Guzman, Aguero, Caruzzo, Buffarini, Pinola, Andujar, Acuna, Dybala.
ARGENTINA (4-4-2): Romero; Roncaglia, Musacchio, Funes Mori, Rojo; Perez, Pizarro, Banega, Di Maria; Correa, Pratto.
SUBS: Melean, Justiniano, Jose Sagredo, Cordano, Vizcarra, Campos, Vaca, Miranda, Morales, Haquin, Gutierrez.
BOLIVIA (4-2-3-1): Lampe; Bejarano, Raldes, Zenteno, Flores; Chumacero, Castro; Arce, Escobar, Wayar; Martins.
The men in green can take solace from the fact that all seven of their points in qualifying have come on home soil, but they have yet to claim a result against any of the teams currently in the top-four – a dubious run which needs to be halted tonight.
Bolivia are all but eliminated from Russia 2018, with just seven points from 13 matches. They need a win to keep their incredibly marginal hopes alive, while anything but three points could see their hopes officially squashed tonight.
The win took them all the way up to third place in the CONMEBOL standings, two points up on the play-off spot. It remains incredibly congested in the qualifying table, however, as they are also two points away from being out of a qualifying spot altogether, so the margin for error is razor thin.
Argentina extracted revenge for their Copa America final defeat when they narrowly edged Chile 1-0 in Buenos Aires on Tuesday night, claiming a vital three points to bolster their hopes of reaching Russia 2018.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of this South American World Cup qualifying match from the Estadio Hernandez Siles in La Paz as Bolivia aim to play spoiler when they host Argentina.