Argentina’s poor World Cup qualifying campaign streak continued as they were defeated by Paraguay by 1-0 at home.
Edgardo Bauza’s men had already drawn their last two games on the road to Russia. Even on home ground, they lost to Derlis Gonzalez’s single first-half goal as Paraguay stunned the natives in Cordoba.
The hosts did more than enough to win, but it was just not their night as Angel Di Maria hit the post and Sergio Aguero missed a penalty.
But even without the injured Lionel Messi, Argentina had started brightly, and it came as a shock they were hit right on the 18th-minute instead as Paraguay carried out a successful and lightning-quick counter-attack, which later proved to be the decisive moment of the game.
Oscar Romero found space in the middle and fed Gonzalez, who raced clear and sent his low shot squirming under Sergio Romero at the near post.
The hosts’ response was strong and they came close to equalising seven minutes later but Di Maria’s effort hit the base of the post with Marcos Rojo blazing over shortly after. Their best chance then came within a minute after half time as they were awarded a penalty when Paulo Da Silva handled Gonzalo Higuain’s flick.
However, Sergio Aguero, playing through injury, was only able to produce a weak shot which was saved easily by Justo Villar down to his left.
As Paraguay dug deep to defend their advantage and allowed Argentina to control possession, they still managed further breaks saw Sergio Romero tested by long-range efforts from Oscar Romero and Angel Romero.
After the final whistle sounded amidst the loud jeers from the home crowd, the result slumps Argentina out of the automatic qualification spots with eight games to go as they next travel to Brazil in November.