Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has admitted that it was a tough decision to drop Martin Demichelis after the defender's decisive error against Bolivia, while playing down the significance of Tuesday's meeting with Colombia.
The Albiceleste meet Leonel Alvarez's unbeaten outfit in Barranquilla for the fourth game of their Conmebol World Cup qualifying campaign, having failed to win on their last two outings. An Ezequiel Lavezzi goal salvaged a 1-1 draw in the Monumental against Bolivia, after Demichelis' mistake had allowed the visitors to take a shock lead through Marcelo Martins.
The trainer confirmed on Monday night that the Malaga man would not start against the Cafeteros, but insisted that it was not an easy choice to make.
"It hurts to leave him out," Sabella told reporters at a press conference which followed the team's evening training session in Colombia.
"[Demichelis] was pained deeply by what happened, more so than any other Argentine."
The coach declined to announce his starting XI against Colombia, meaning the identity of the centre-back's replacement will remain unknown until Tuesday. He did take the opportunity to analyse the match, calling it an important - but not vital - fixture for both countries.
"It is an important game, but not a decisive one," the former Estudiantes trainer opined.
"The two teams are coming in under pressure, and so it will be hard fought in the middle of the pitch with a lot of nerves and a lot of heart. Whoever makes a mistake is going to suffer."
Colombia and Argentina will meet in Barranquilla's Estadio Metropolitano at 22.00CET.