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Argentina squeeze past Bolivia, Ecuador hammer Uruguay

14 October 2020, MVT 10:18
Argentina's forward Lionel Messi reacts after victory during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 26, 2018. This week, in 2022, he was key in bringing Argentina back to life, as the team squeezed past Bolivia, Ecuador hammer Uruguay in the World Cup Qualifiers for 2022. AFP PHOTO: AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS
14 October 2020, MVT 10:18

Joaquin Correa scored the winner 11 minutes from time as Argentina labored to a 2-1 victory over Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier in La Paz on Tuesday.

It was a second narrow victory in a row for Lionel Scaloni's team following Thursday's 1-0 win over Ecuador.

Marcelo Moreno Martins had given hosts Bolivia a deserved lead but Argentina scored a fortuitous equaliser through Lautaro Martinez.

Elsewhere, Ecuador bounced back from their loss in Argentina to stun Uruguay 4-2 in Quito.

Bolivia should have been ahead on six minutes when Argentina goalkeeper Franco Armani was caught off his line but Moreno Martins sent his header from an angle onto the roof of the net.

Moreno Martins made amends on 24 minutes as he rose between Argentina's center-backs to power home a header from eight yards after Alejandro Chumacero was allowed to run from halfway into the visitors' box before crossing from the left.

While the Estadio Hernando Siles was empty due to coronavirus restrictions, some fans standing on a nearby roof overlooking the ground celebrated enthusiastically.

Argentina came to life just before the break as an otherwise subdued Lionel Messi had a shot deflected just wide and from the resulting corner, Leandro Paredes crashed a shot off the post.

But in the final minute of the half, Argentina were level.

Jose Carrasco tried to clear the ball out of his six yard box after cutting out Martinez's cross, but he shanked the ball off the forward's shin and past goalkeeper Carlos Lampe.

Messi was wasteful with a free-kick from 20 yards just past the hour mark as he fired it straight into the wall.

His pass, 15 minutes from the end, released Martinez in the box only for Lampe to brilliantly save his fierce right-foot drive.

The reprieve was brief as Messi and Martinez combined to tee up Correa to thrash home the winner.

Ecuador totally dominated Uruguay and took the lead on 15 minutes as Moises Caicedo headed home an Angel Mena corner from close range.

They had a second goal by Michael Estrada ruled out by a VAR review for a handball against Enner Valencia.

But Estrada got his goal on the stroke of half-time, rifling home from inside the box after a mistake by veteran Uruguay center-back Diego Godin.

Uruguay thought they had a goal back three minutes into the second half but it was disallowed for a handball by Darwin Nunez.

And after a lengthy VAR check, Ecuador went straight up the other end where Estrada cracked home Valencia's backheel from 20 yards.

Ecuador's final goal was a work of art as Alan Franco's reverse pass bemused Uruguay's defence and Gonzalo Plata rolled his foot over the ball to commit both sliding defender Ronald Araujo and goalkeeper Martin Campana before stroking the ball into the far corner.

Luis Suarez scored his record-extending 61st and 62nd goals for Uruguay with a pair of late penalties.

Montevideo, Uruguay | AFP

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