Messi-Less Argentina: A Comfortable 3-0 Win Against Bolivia

Argentina secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier, despite the notable absence of their star player, Lionel Messi.

Just days prior, Messi had dazzled in Argentina’s opening qualifying game for the 2026 World Cup, scoring a remarkable 78th-minute free-kick to secure a 1-0 win against Ecuador. However, his absence from Tuesday’s match was due to a knock sustained in that game, leaving Argentina to demonstrate their prowess without their talisman.

Argentina took the lead in La Paz shortly after the half-hour mark when Angel Di Maria delivered a low cross from the right flank, expertly guided into the net by Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

Bolivia, who had lost their previous five World Cup qualifiers, faced an even more daunting task when Roberto Fernandez received a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Cristian Romero. The 24-year-old’s studs-up tackle on the Tottenham Hotspur defender left Bolivia with 10 players for the remainder of the match.

Taking swift advantage of their numerical superiority, La Albiceleste doubled their lead just before halftime through Lyon defender Nicolas Tagliafico. Di Maria, who was influential throughout the first half, provided the assist with a well-placed free-kick that Tagliafico calmly headed into the net, marking his first international goal.

With Argentina firmly in control, Nicolas Gonzalez sealed the three points in the 83rd minute, driving a near-post strike past Bolivia’s goalkeeper, Guillermo Viscarra.

This commanding victory extends Argentina’s impressive unbeaten streak in World Cup qualifiers to 23 matches, dating back to 2017. Their next qualifying fixtures are scheduled for October, with a home match against Paraguay in Buenos Aires followed by a trip to Lima to face Peru.

Despite Messi’s absence, Argentina displayed their strength and depth, leaving their fans eager to see what the future holds as they continue their quest for World Cup qualification.

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