Argentina extended their unbeaten streak to 25 matches after Lautaro Martinez secured a 1-0 victory over Peru in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.
Lautaro Martinez’s 43rd-minute header settled the contest as Argentina stayed undefeated on the road to Qatar 2022 on Thursday.
Peru had the chance to snatch a point away from home, but Yoshimar Yotun’s 65th-minute penalty cannoned off the woodwork in Buenos Aires.
Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina – second in the standings – temporarily moved within three points of leaders Brazil through 11 qualifying fixtures.
Argentina made a bright start to proceedings at the Monumental, with Rodrigo De Paul in the thick of the action as the hosts saw two shots flash across goal inside four minutes.
Gianluca Lapadula’s free-kick forced in-form Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez into an early save, while La Albiceleste found the back of the net in the ninth minute, but Cristian Romero’s header was ruled offside following a lengthy VAR review.
¡En marcha el segundo tiempo! pic.twitter.com/j3k92Qn4Nw
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) October 15, 2021
In a team headlined by Lionel Messi, De Paul continued to pull the strings with some wonderful passing and he was the centre of Argentina’s opener prior to half-time.
De Paul played a neat one-two with Nahuel Molina and the latter picked out Lautaro Martinez, whose wonderful header beat Pedro Gallese two minutes before the break.
Jefferson Farfan came off the bench to make his 100th international appearance – the 36-year-old becoming the sixth Peru player to reach the century club.
He made an immediate impact, earning a penalty after being brought down by Emiliano Martinez but Yotun rattled the crossbar with his spot-kick.
Messi was largely subdued by Peru, though his free-kick 20 minutes from the end forced a save from Gallese.
What does it mean? Argentina go from strength to strength
Argentina were on their knees when Scaloni took charge of the embattled South American giants. Now Copa America champions, Argentina have not lost since July 2019.
De Paul enhances reputation
The Atletico Madrid midfielder has quickly become a key part of Scaloni’s XI. De Paul dazzled in the first half with 63 touches of the ball – the most among both teams. He also earned four fouls while completing 36 passes and four crosses in the opening 45 minutes.
Peru’s drought continues
Peru have not gone 17 matches without winning against Argentina in World Cup qualifiers, dating back to 1985. The result condemned Peru to back-to-back defeats as they fight to qualify for next year’s showpiece.
Argentina will be back in action next month when they travel to Uruguay on November 10, while Peru welcome Bolivia on the same day.
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