Argentina beaten at home by Paraguay, sorely miss Messi
CORDOBA (Argentina): Argentina , lacking the inspiration of injured captain Lionel Messi, suffered a humiliating setback in their World Cup qualifying campaign when they lost 1-0 at home to Paraguay on Tuesday.
Paraguay stunned the twice world champions with a fast break from deep in their own half, Angel Romero playing the ball into the path of Derlis Gonzalez who beat Sergio Romero with a shot inside the near post in the 18th minute.
The defeat left Argentina in fifth place in the South American group with 16 points, one point ahead of Paraguay and four behind leaders Uruguay, who could be overtaken by Brazil if they win in Venezuela later.
Ecuador are third on 17 points, level with Colombia, who are in fourth on goal difference.
The top four go through to the 2018 finals in Russia while the fifth placed team qualifiers for an intercontinental playoff for another berth.
Argentina will be desperate to have a fit Messi back for their next qualifier away to Brazil in Belo Horizonte on Nov. 10.
They could have got back on level terms two minutes into the second half but Paraguay captain Justo Villar saved Sergio Arguero’s weak penalty.
Uruguay were held to a 2-2 draw away to Colombia with Luis Suarez scoring his 19th goal in qualifying matches, equalling the record held by former Argentina striker Herna Crespo.
The Uruguayans were pegged back in steamy Barranquilla by Colombia striker Yerry Mina’s late headed equaliser after Suarez had put them ahead in the 73rd minute.
Midfielder Cristian Rodriguez had headed a 27th-minute leveller for Uruguay to cancel out Abel Aguilar’s opening goal.