Argentina head coach Edgardo Bauza has dropped Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero among seven changes for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.
Sao Paulo striker Lucas Pratto will partner captain Lionel Messi in attack, with Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain one of four players suspended after collecting a yellow card during last week’s 1-0 win over Chile.
Centre-back Nicolas Otamendi and midfielders Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia suffered a similar fate to Higuain, while full-backs Gabriel Mercado and Emmanuel Mas sustained respective hamstring and knee injuries.
It means Aguero is the only alteration to the starting line-up based upon tactical considerations after he struggled in an unfamiliar number 10 role against Chile in Buenos Aires.
The 28-year-old is set to join Paulo Dybala on the bench, with the Juventus forward back in training following a thigh injury.
Sergio Romero, Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo are the other survivors from last time out alongside Messi, although the Manchester United defender reverts to left-back with Mateo Musacchio and Ramiro Funes Mori coming into the heart of defence, flanked by Facundo Roncaglia on the other side.
Enzo Perez, Ever Banega and the uncapped Guido Pizarro will provide midfield support to Di Maria, Messi and Pratto.
Victory over Chile moved Argentina up to third place in the CONMEBOL standings. By contrast, second-bottom Bolivia are almost out of the qualification hunt, but matches played at punishing altitude in La Paz are rarely an enjoyable experience for visiting sides.
“We want to win in La Paz but we all know that it is not easy. The altitude makes for tough conditions,” Bauza told a news conference, where he revealed his players had been given paracetamol to deal with altitude headaches.
“We have to be smart and consider the game plan. To not stick to it would be crazy. Bolivia have good players and will attack with many people. Argentina plays to win, tries to win every game and we plan according to the opponent.
Source : SunOnline
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