Bolivia hand Lionel Messi-less Argentina 2-0 loss in La Paz

Bolivia beat a short-handed Argentina team 2-0 in a CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz on Tuesday.

Argentina were playing without Lionel Messi, after the Barcelona forward was given a four-match ban from FIFA for insulting the assistant referee in the national team’s 1-0 win against Chile on Thursday.

Edgardo Bauza’s team have struggled mightily when playing without Messi, winning just once in eight times including the latest result against Bolivia.

The visitors nearly had an opener against the run of play in the 29th minute, but Carlos Lampe saved Angel Di Maria’s shot from the centre of the penalty area after he had been played through by Angel Correa.

Two minutes later, Bolivia took the lead when Juan Carlos Arce headed home past Sergio Romero from a Pablo Escobar pass to put the hosts ahead 1-0 at half-time.

Marcelo Moreno doubled Bolivia’s advantage soon after the break, firing home an Enrique Flores cross with a powerful right-footed shot in the 52nd minute.

Argentina continued to struggle without their talisman and could not find a way back into the game, meaning it’s more missed points for Bauza’s team, who are in danger of dropping from third in the qualifying table pending the rest of Tuesday’s results.