Showering the Argentine bus with bricks and stones will certainly have made the Argentinian players uneasy, but Peru will need to do more than that to come out of the fixture with a win.
Peru have taken six points from six games in their quest to make the World Cup in 2014, so they will be playing with nothing to lose here. They are coming off a 2-1 win against Venezuela, but the Argentinian threat is obviously much greater.
The key, unsurprisingly, is Lionel Messi. Peru must find a way to contain him and reduce him to a fringe player. BusinessDayOnline.com ran a story that highlighted a historical antecedent that will hearten the Peru defence:
In 1985, Luis Reyna's tight marking of Diego Maradona was key to an upset 1-0 win over Argentina, and Peru will ponder a similar stopping job against another diminutive and sublimely gifted forward…
The same article states that defensive midfielder Edwin Retamoso is going to be the one given the thankless role of Messi’s shadow for the evening, and it is here that the battle will be won or lost.
Retamoso cannot be drawn into rash tackles or allow Messi the space to take control of the game. He has to be a constant annoyance to the Argentinian, frustrating him for space and hurrying him into wayward passes. Even if it takes multiple players flooding the middle of the pitch, the midfield cannot be dominated by Argentina.
Peru still need to score, however. La Blanquirroja striker Paolo Guerrero is doubtful for the game, picking up a foot injury in the Venezuela fixture. As captain, his presence would be sorely missed.
Andre Carrillo will have to be ready to step into the fire. The 21-year-old bagged the only goal of the game in the friendly against Costa Rica last month, but that is also his only international goal.
Jefferson Farfan is the other goal threat for Peru, and the more likely to bring them glory after scoring both goals in their defeat of Venezuela.
Farfan knows as well as anyone that Peru are on the edge of World Cup disappointment, so he will be playing out of his skin to try and carry the team to Brazil in 2014.
Farfan has 15 goals for his country, and the feeling persists that he’ll need at least two here to stave off defeat.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!