MX23RW : Saturday, October 23 15:20:17| >> :600:760510:760510:
Oct 15, 2021 at 12.30am UK
Martinez (43')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Yotun (41'), Garcia (45+2')

Preview: Argentina vs. Peru - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Argentina and Peru, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Argentina will seek to maintain their unbeaten start to CONMEBOL World Cup 2022 Qualifying when they welcome Peru to Buenos Aires on Thursday.

Lionel Scaloni's side eased to a 3-0 win over Uruguay during their most recent battle, while their visitors suffered a disheartening defeat to Bolivia.

Match preview

 Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni on June 14, 2021© Reuters

Being held to a goalless draw in Paraguay was hardly the ideal way for Argentina to kick off their October fixtures, but the quality of the Copa America champions truly came to the fore against Uruguay on Sunday during a resounding 3-0 success.

Lionel Messi and Rodrigo de Paul put Argentina two goals to the good before the break, and Lautaro Martinez would complete the rout with a strike of his own just after the hour mark, but the day belonged to the record-breaking six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Messi's 38th-minute opener - an unconventional one at that - marked his 80th international goal, seeing him become the first South American to hit that landmark as the records keep stacking up for the 34-year-old during the final stages of his career.

As one of two teams in CONMEBOL Qualifying still with their unbeaten record intact, Argentina occupy second spot in the group - six points behind leaders Brazil, whose winning streak came to an end last time out - and a comfortable route to Qatar 2022 is on the cards for Scaloni's side.

Victory over Uruguay marked their third clean sheet in succession in World Cup Qualifying, and their unbeaten run across all tournaments now stands at 24 games as they seek to avoid a first home defeat since October 2016 in midweek.

Peru manager Ricardo Gareca reacts on June 23, 2021© Reuters

In contrast, Peru were unable to keep the momentum going from their 2-0 win over Chile a few days before travelling to an out-of-sorts Bolivia, who marched to a 1-0 victory despite going down to 10 men on home soil.

Fourteen minutes after being introduced as a substitute, forward Henry Vaca was given his marching orders for Bolivia, but his namesake Ramiro Vaca also came off the bench to strike the game's only goal in the 82nd minute, a surprising statistic given that 32 shots were fired over the course of the contest.

Twenty-one of those efforts were on Bolivia's side, though, with Peru's lack of defensive discipline seeing them fall to a sixth defeat from 11 World Cup Qualifying battles as they lie seventh in the standings - five points adrift of the automatic qualification spots.

With only two wins to boast from their last seven in all tournaments, the chances of Ricardo Gareca's Peru making it back-to-back appearances at a World Cup Finals are slimming, and they travel to Argentina on the back of four successive defeats away from home.

Three of the last five encounters between Argentina and Peru have ended level, but the Copa America winners eased to a 2-0 win during the most recent fixture in November 2020, while the visitors have not beaten their upcoming opponents since 1997.

Argentina World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Argentina form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Peru World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Peru form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Argentina teammates celebrate scoring their third goal on June 29, 2021© Reuters

Argentina striker Martinez brushed off muscular fatigue to start and score against Uruguay during a strong 65-minute cameo, but Marcos Acuna was nowhere to be seen after coming off injured against Paraguay.

Nicolas Tagliafico should therefore hold his place at left-back with Acuna working his way back to fitness, while Joaquin Correa also suffered a knock on Sunday and will need to be assessed.

Nicolas Gonzalez was also given the nod over Angel Di Maria last time out, but the Paris Saint-Germain attacker will hope to benefit from some rotation this week.

Meanwhile, Peru have no fresh injury concerns to report from their defeat to Bolivia, but Gareca did lose experienced heads Renato Tapia, Edison Flores and Paolo Guerrero to injury before October's games commenced.

Jefferson Farfan won his 99th cap for the national team last time out, and the 36-year-old will become just the sixth player to chalk up a century of appearances for Peru should he earn some minutes here.

Miguel Trauco returns from suspension to provide an option for change at left-back, while Gianluca Lapadula is indispensable up top.

Argentina possible starting lineup:
E. Martinez; Montiel, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Di Maria, Paredes, De Paul, Gonzalez; Messi, L. Martinez

Peru possible starting lineup:
Gallese; Advincula, Abram, Callens, Lopez; Yotun, Aquino, Gonzales; Farfan, Lapadula, Cueva

SM words green background

We say: Argentina 2-0 Peru

Scaloni will certainly be tempted to shuffle the pack for this game, but Argentina should still possess too much quality for their counterparts this week.

La Albiceleste are almost always unplayable at home, while Peru enter this game on the back of a confidence-sapping defeat, which sets the stage for Messi and co to extend their side's unbeaten run to 25 games here.

Top tip

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Lionel Messi in action for Argentina on September 10, 2021
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Messi scores record-breaking goal in Argentina win
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