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Key Events

84'
A. Fernández
É. Banega
78'
S. Agüero
G. Higuaín
75'
J. Arce
A. Chumacero
71'
Y. Duk
Yellow Card
46'
F. Saucedo
D. Bejarano
46'
S. Galindo
J. Campos
31'
Á. Correa
Á. Di María
30'
L. Messi
Penalty Goal
24'
L. Gutiérrez
Yellow Card
20'
G. Higuaín
Assist
20'
G. Mercado
Goal
3
0
3
2

Stats

Possession
% %
10
1
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 8 2
Total Passes 669 167

Commentary

Lionel Messi scored his 50th Argentina goal, while Gabriel Mercado added the other, as the Gerardo Martino's side cruise past La Verde in Cordoba. That's all for our live coverage from this World Cup qualifier - thanks for following along! Goodbye.
90' + 2' FULL-TIME: ARGENTINA 2-0 BOLIVIA.
90' There will be two minutes added on at the end of this match.
88' Into the final couple of minutes now and both teams are keen on getting this one to full-time. Bolivia mount another one of those rare attacks we've seen scattered throughout and win a corner, but send only three bodies into the area in anticipation of a delivery. There's no excuse for that.
86' STAT: Bolivia have only twice qualified for the World Cup (1950 and 1994). They participated in the inaugural competition in 1930, before any qualification phase was implemented.
A. Fernández
É. Banega
Argentina
84' Argentina's final change sees Augusto Fernandez come on to replace Banega, who was in fine-form tonight.
82' FABULOUS GOALKEEPING! Messi wants one of these badly, but he's thwarted again from a free-kick, this one his best attempt of the night, but it wasn't meant to be as Lampe dives across to get a strong hand to the effort and tip it over the bar.
80' The tempo has slowed drastically with the last two substitutions taking up much more time than was actually necessary. It should pick up again as we enter the final 10 minutes as Bolivia will assuredly start to take a few chances in the hopes of making for a nervy finish for the Albiceleste.
S. Agüero
G. Higuaín
Argentina
78' Serio Aguero, who has five goals and three assists in Argentina's last two matches against Bolivia, is on to replace Higuain for the remainder of the match.
J. Arce
A. Chumacero
Bolivia
75' Chumacero's evening is over and he will be relieved. He's had a difficult task tonight and is given a breather for the final 15 minutes with Juan Carlos Arce on to replace him.
73' STAT: Bolivia are winless in their last 48 World Cup qualifying matches away from home (D7, L41) since a 7-1 victory over Venezuela in July 1993.
Y. Duk
Yellow Card
Bolivia
71' Duk finally goes into the referee's book, and it has been some time coming. You can't fault his work ethic, though. His latest foul was one of his first on someone other than Mascherano, as he dragged Messi to ground from behind.
69' Boliva are enjoying one of their better periods of the match, though that's hardly saying much. It merely means Argentina haven't had much possession over the last couple of minutes, with the visitors passing it around timidly in midfield.
67' Banega can't find the target! Bolivia give the ball straight back to Argentina, as they have done time and time again throughout the match. Banega is sprung through down the left this time and has a good look at goal, but gets the contact all wrong in the end as he fires decently wide of the far post.
65' INCHES WIDE! Outstanding interplay from the hosts as they move the ball into attack with such grace. Higuain knocks it down for Banega, who springs the striker through down the right, and his pull-back finds Biglia, but the midfielder's first-time effort is sent just wide of the far post!
63' STAT: Bolivia have never won a World Cup qualifying match in Argentina, losing eight and drawing one – though the tie came in their most recent attempt in 2011 in Buenos Aires.
61' SMART SAVE! Important piece of goalkeeping from Lampe who manages to halt his momentum and dive back to his right to keep out Correa's effort from in close, after the forward made quick work of Marteli inside the area.
59' Messi has a shot blocked by Marteli inside the area, but the pressure stays on. Mascherano picks up possession, as he's done all night, and Duk returns the favour with a hard slide to concede a free-kick. The two have been at each other's throats throughout the first hour.
57' Argentina have to be a bit careful here, as they've taken their foot off the gas a bit in this second half. Possession is still very much in their hands, but they aren't pushing the pace and showing the same attacking desire that they did in the first half.
55' Smedberg takes the ensuing free-kick and tries to slot it in at the near post. Romero flies through the air to knock it behind, but that may have been heading wide anyways.
54' Full credit to Duk who, despite minimal service, continues to run his tail off up top when given the chance. The striker finds himself stranded but is able to make his way to the top of the Argentina penalty area before being taken to ground by Mascherano.
52' Higuain is eager to get on the scoresheet, but for all Argentina's dominance he hasn't had a whole lot of clear chances just yet. His only real opportunity resulted in a goal for Mercado, but otherwise the striker has more so filled the role of provider this evening.
50' STAT: The last time Argentina failed to qualify for the World Cup was 1970, hosted by Mexico. They have reached the tournament 11 straight times since then, four times reaching the final and twice winning.
48' Argentina pick up where they left off in the first half, dominating possession and playing keep-away from Bolivia in midfield. The visitors are refusing to give chase, but at one point they'll have to start taking their chances and apply a bit of pressure in midfield.
46' Back underway in Cordoba!
F. Saucedo
D. Bejarano
Bolivia
46' The second Bolivia change sees Fernando Saucedo replace Danny Bejarano.
S. Galindo
J. Campos
Bolivia
46' Samuel Galindo is on to replace Campos at the start of this second half.
Mercado and Messi have La Albiceleste comfortably in front at the interval. The right-back opened the scoring following a perfect set-up by Higuain, with the Barcelona forward doubling their advantage from the spot shortly after following a questionable penalty decision won by Banega. Boliva have been out-classed al over the pitch and the deficit can only get worse in the second half if they fail to make the necessary adjustments.
45' HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 2-0 BOLIVIA.
43' This is as close to as one-sided a first half as it gets. Bolivia haven't showed up and all things considered, they should consider themselves lucky to be down just two goals right now - and that's with Argentina being awarded a penalty they probably shouldn't have.
41' Saved by Lampe! Another Messi free-kick, this one from just under 30 yards, forces the keeper into action. The Barcelona forward went for the far post this time, with Lampe getting over to make an acrobatic save, though that was really one for the cameras in the end as it was much more straightforward as he made it seem.
39' Argentina have Bolivia pinned back in their end as they search for another before the interval. Two may already be too much for Bolivia to overturn, but a third before the break would remove any and all doubt.
37' Rare sign of life from Bolivia as they push forward on the break and find a generous pocket of space on the right. Marvin Bejarano can't get his cross into the area in the end, however, as Rojo blocks it behind with Duk screaming out for a pass in the centre.
35' MESSI MAKES IT THREE... but it won't count! The forward makes another tremendous jaunt into the final third, cutting all the way into the centre before playing Banega through in the left channel. The midfielder returns the favour with a cross that Messi tucks home, but Banega was just offside when the initial ball came to him.
33' STAT: Argentina have won each of the last two meetings with Bolivia (both friendlies) by a combined score of 12-0.
Á. Correa
Á. Di María
Argentina
31' Di Maria has suffered a knock and is forced off - a real worry for PSG just over a week out from their Champions League clash with Manchester City. Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa replaces him.
L. Messi
Penalty Goal
Argentina
30' MESSI SCORES FROM THE SPOT! No mistake from the Barcelona forward, who nestles the ball just inside the post. Lampe guessed right, but no goalkeeper in the world is getting to that.
28' PENALTY TO ARGENTINA! Banega makes a strong run into the area and goes to ground following what looked a clean challenge from Eguino who made contact with the ball and only the ball, but the referee points to the spot! Bolivia are in disbelief, and you can hardly blame them.
27' SMART SAVE! Messi does indeed go for goal, lining up the near corner, but there's just not enough pace on it as Lampe flies through the air to keep it out!
26' Exceptional from Pinola! The centre-half is given his chance to stake claim to a regular spot in the side, and that should certainly help his cause. He makes a dazzling run from close to the halfway line to the top of the box, with a late slide all that can stop him. The ensuing free-kick should prove a real chance for Messi to have a shot at goal.
L. Gutiérrez
Yellow Card
Bolivia
24' Great bit of hold-up play from Higuain to help move the ball out of their own half. He waits for support and fends off a challenge before being taken to ground cynically by Gutierrez, who is promptly issued the first yellow card of the match.
22' Argentina's tireless pursuit of the opening goal pays off in the end, and it was coming for some time. Bolivia get forward following the restart and enjoy their first passage of possession in attack since the opening minutes. They win a free-kick and send the big bodies forward, but Argentina deal with the threat.
G. Higuaín
Assist
Argentina
20' Higuain continues his exceptional form by picking up the assist.
G. Mercado
Goal
Argentina
20' THERE'S THE GOAL! ARGENTINA LEAD IN CORDOBA! Terrific from Messi who wins a free-kick then takes it promptly, chipping a ball over to send Higuain through with the Bolivia defence caught out. The striker chips the keeper, but Eguino clears off the line. It comes right back to Higuain who keeps his cool and serves it up on a platter for Mercado to roll into the empty net.
19' STAT: Bolivia have conceded in 30 consecutive World Cup qualifying matches, last keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Brazil in September 2008.
17' Over from Mercado! The right-back, who scored against Chile on Thursday, nearly bags his second of the international break as he rises to meet Messi's free-kick, but sends his header over the bar!
15' MAGIC FEET! Messi dazzles these fans in Cordoba with a piece of genius on the ball, as we have all become accustom to. The Barcelona forward dances through midfield, skipping past three Bolivian defenders before trying to work a one-two with Higuain, but the return pass is broken up by a timely slide from Diego Bejarano.
13' Again it's broken up! Argentina are doing everything but score right now. Their build-up play has been sumptuous, but the final ball just hasn't been up to the same standard. You get the sense that a breakthrough isn't far off, but they need to be more clinical inside the area.
11' Poor decision! Pinball atop the Bolivia box eventually sees Higuain get through on goal. With the form he's in you would fancy him to shoot from there, but he passes up the opportunity and tries to pull it back for Di Maria, but Marteli is on hand to cut it out.
9' Relentless pressure from La Albiceleste as they search for the opening goal. Bolivia are doing well to keep their shape at the back and avert the threat inside the final third, but their midfield is being utterly dominated as Argentina pass their way through at will.
7' STAT: Argentina have conceded just twice in nine World Cup qualifying matches on home turf against Bolivia (W8, D1), outscoring La Verde 23-2.
5' There's a wonderful tempo to this match in the early stages. Argentina have no problem pushing the pace and committing bodies into attack. Duk tracks back and concedes a free-kick with a foul on Messi, which is sent into the box for an unmarked Pinola, but the defender just can't get the decisive touch on it!
3' Bolivia respond well to the early fright, getting fighting off the threat and getting forward for a chance of their own. Smedberg unloads the first shot on target for the Verde, forcing Romero into a smart save.
1' ARGENTINA NEARLY SCORE WITHIN 10 SECONDS! It's almost an unbelievable start from the hosts as Bolivia are caught napping from the opening kick, giving the ball straight away and allowing Argentina to break. Higuain slides Di Maria through on goal but Lampe is out to make the initial stop before Banega sends his follow-up off the bar!
1' We're underway in Cordoba!
Bolivia make eight changes to the side which lost 3-2 at home to Colombia. Three of the changes were forced, with Edward Zenteno and Leonel Morales suspended, while Damian Lizio has left the squad for the birth of his child. Fernando Martelli, Luis Alberto Gutierrez and Marvin Bejarano are brought into the side in their absence, while Diego Bejarano, Martin Smedberg, Jhasmani Campos and Yasmani Duk are also thrust into the starting line-up. Carlos Lampe also starts in goal, earning his first cap in a competitive fixture, in place of Romel Quinonez.
With Ramiro Funes Mori and Nicolas Otamendi suspended, Martin Demichelis comes into defence for what could be his last international match according to the centre-half himself. He will play alongside Rosario Central's Javier Pinola who earns just his second cap at the age of 33. Javier Mascherano is brought into midfield, joining Ever Banega and Lucas Biglia, at the expense of Atletico Madrid's Matias Kranevitter, while Gonzalo Higuain is selected to lead the line ahead of Sergio Aguero, who is dropped to the bench.
BOLIVA (5-4-1): Lampe; Di. Bejarano, Eguino, Marteli, Gutierrez, M. Bejarano; Smedberg, Chumacero, Da. Bejarano, Campos; Duk.
ARGENTINA (4-3-3): Romero; Mercado, Demichelis, Pinola, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Di Maria, Higuain.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Bolivia have won just once from their first five qualifiers, and defensively they remain a mess. It’s far from an ideal time for them to have to take on Lionel Messi and company, with the 7-0 thrashing suffered at the hands of Argentina in September still fresh in their minds. It’s still very early in the qualifying phase, but Julio Cesar Baldivieso’s side have shown little reason to believe they can make their first World Cup appearance since 1994.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of this South American World Cup qualifying match from Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes as Argentina play host to Bolivia. La Albiceleste have turned a corner with successive wins in the qualifying phase after being held to just two points from their first three matches – and with both successes coming away from home it makes it all the more impressive for Gerardo Martino’s men. They look more like the team who reached the 2014 World Cup final with every passing match, and history tells us they should have no problem seeing aside La Verde this evening.
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