Argentina and Messi would be scratching their heads now. Albiceleste team lost Messi before the Bolivia match due to suspension and that had an immediate effect on the team. The team sank into oblivion and they were clueless on the field. The team was pushed in the dumps to fifth position in the group standings after their loss to Bolivia and after Chile and Columbia win. Leo was handed four match suspension due to his insulting of assistant referee after Albiceleste win over Chile.

Messi less Argentina sank without a fight

Angel Di Maria did the burst runs at occasion for Albiceleste team and the team was more content for playing a standstill game.

He had a beautiful chance to put Argentina ahead in the 27th minute but shot it wide. He had another chance when Correa gave a terrific ball only to see it being shot wide of Bolivian goal keeper Lampe. Escobar from the right flank sent a deep ball cross and Arce made a good clever run past right-back Roncaglia and beat Romero with a header that found the back of the net and Bolivia lead 1-0. Messi was there not to provide them with genius touches and even though coach Bauza urged the team to move forward, it was a spineless display from the team in white and blue. Bolivia looked threatening and made the right moves. The second half was no different when Roncoglia lost the control on the ball that was bouncing behind him and Flores crossed the ball to centre-forward Moreno who slotted one into the net with an emphatic finish and Bolivia lead 2-0.

To add salt to the wound , Mori was injured and was taken off in stretcher and already poor defense can get worse.

Messi dependency is causing headache to Argentina fans

Argentina will have to play well in the remaining four matches. Albiceleste can hope that Leo would get appeal and would play in the fur matches. The team is slated to play Uruguay away from home, Venezuela at home in August.

The team would regroup in October to play Peru at home and Ecuador away from home. If the ban stands Leo can play only the Ecuador match. No Albiceleste player had more than one touch in the box in the match against Bolivia and Pratto, Correa, and Di Maria had only one touch. Without Messi, the team has won only once in eight times including the outing against Bolivia and the strike rate improves to 83% when Leo is included in the team.

Argentina will have to gain appeal to Messi and play with their hearts out to ensure a place in Russia 2018. The defense is crumbling, the attack is toothless and all causing heart burns to the fans and they can now only pray and hope for the best.