Bolivia vs Argentina: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
In one of the more surprising results in the World Cup Qualifying so far, Argentina and Bolivia ended in a 1-1 draw.
Bolivia came into the match as the more aggressive team. The home side held possession for a great deal of the first half and were firing shots at Sergio Romero at will.
This strategy paid off early.
In the 25th minute, Alejandro Chumacero crossed the ball to the front of the net, and Marcelo Moreno finished with a nice header for the goal and a 1-0 lead.
The score stuck until just before intermission, when Argentina was able to return the favor with a header of its own. Clemente Rodriguez found Ever Banega, and the midfielder was able to get it past the keeper.
In the second half, there was more of the same type of aggression but fewer results. Neither side could put the ball in the back of the net, and the match ended in a draw.
Will Bolivia qualify for the 2014 World Cup?
While the squad will still earn a point, Argentina must be disappointed to lose an opportunity to really pull away from the pack. The team entered Tuesday with a four-point lead in the CONMEBOL qualifying table.
Of course, this was a much better finish for Argentina compared to the last time the national team played in La Paz.
In 2009, the squad struggled with the high altitude and ended up falling to the home team 6-1.
While this might not have been the perfect game for the Argentines, they should be happy to know that they no longer have to return to this location for the remainder of qualifying.
On the other hand, Bolivia came in with only eight points in 10 matches. But the additional point should keep the hopes alive of playing in the 2014 World Cup.
Neither team resumes qualifying until June. Bolivia will have a chance to make up ground against Venezuela, while Argentina have a tough home match against Colombia.
It is obvious that both sides would like to work on a few things before the next major match.
Lionel Messi, Argentina: D
For better or worse, Argentina is very dependent on Lionel Messi to score goals. However, this is not usually a bad thing with arguably the top forward in the world.
When he does not score, however, Argentina struggles to wins matches.
That was the case on Tuesday.
Messi had plenty of touches, but was never able to get a clean look at the net. He was shut out on the day and his side only managed one goal against an inferior opponent.
For Argentina to do well in the future, Messi will need to show up stronger.
Sergio Romero, Argentina: A-
It was clear that Bolivia came in with a strategy to test Sergio Romero throughout the match. Despite allowing the one goal, the keeper had an impressive performance.
The young goaltender had to account for constant shots from the opponent, and he and his defense prevented most of them from getting through.
He also finished with four saves on the day.
Without Romero in net, this score could have been much worse.
Marcelo Moreno, Bolivia: A
While Marcelo Moreno has been the most aggressive player on the Bolivian squad, it has not always translated into goals.
If the forward is going to try to replace Pablo Escobar, he needs to turn shots into scores more often.
Against Argentina, he was able to do that.
He got himself space on a cross from Alejandro Chumacero and used his height to finish it off with a goal.
He also got a few more shots on net, although they were all blocked.
Still, his skill was on display on Tuesday, and it is a good sign for the future of the Bolivian squad.
Carlos Saucedo, Bolivia: B-
The last time Bolivia played a home qualifier, Carlos Saucedo appeared to be unstoppable. Uruguay had no answers for the talented forward and he finished with a hat trick in a 4-1 win.
While Argentina has a much better defense, it is disappointing that Saucedo was unable to carry over his momentum from his last match.
Although he got a few good looks at the net, he was not able to finish any off.
It hurt his side's chances to get a victory in this one.
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