Lionel Messi Misses Out As Argentina Cruise To 3-0 Win Over Bolivia

Argentina Star Lionel Messi
Argentina Star Lionel Messi

After scoring a match-winning free-kick in last week’s 1-0 victory over Ecuador, Lionel Messi sat out Argentina’s trip to the Estadio Hernando Siles for their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on Tuesday (September 12). Despite playing without their talisman, La Albiceleste managed to outmuscle Bolivia with ease, securing a straightforward 3-0 victory.

Angel Di Maria Stars As Argentina Pick Up Second Consecutive Win

Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina started the game on the front foot, testing the keeper after just 12 minutes of play. Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez received the ball from Nicolas Tagliafico and decided to try his luck from 35 yards out. He caught the ball sumptuously, sending it towards the top corner, but an acrobatic save from goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra denied him the opener.

Argentina inevitably got their noses in front in the 31st minute, courtesy of an inch-perfect Angel Di Maria delivery and a thumping Enzo Fernandez finish. The former Real Madrid winger got the better of his marker on the right before sending a low cross into the box, which Fernandez put away with ease.

In the 42nd minute, Di Maria doubled his tally, this time sending a free-kick into the box, allowing Tagliafico to head it in. The left-back’s looping header was noteworthy, as it completely took the keeper out of the equation.

Argentina’s third and final goal of the night came in the 83rd minute, with Exequiel Palacios playing a slide rule pass for Nicolas Gonzalez to chase down and convert. The 3-0 victory saw the 2022 FIFA World Cup winners maintain their perfect record alongside rivals Brazil.

Lionel Scaloni Explains Reason Behind Lionel Messi’s Absence

Messi, 36, has always been eager to represent his country, rarely missing a game when fit. So, when he missed the trip to Bolivia, it was feared that the Inter Miami star might be carrying an injury. After the game, Scaloni confirmed the fears, saying the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was not comfortable enough to even try to play.

The coach said (via GOAL):

He [Messi] wasn’t ready to play. Yesterday he tried to recover and he didn’t feel comfortable and we didn’t take the risk.

He wasn’t fit. Yesterday in training we wanted him to try and he didn’t even try.

The news does not bode well for Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Inter Miami, who need their talisman to make the MLS Cup playoffs this season. Unbeaten in 12 games since signing Messi, the Herons will face Atlanta United this Saturday (September 16).

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