BUENOS AIRES, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Juan Roman Riquelme struck twice in the second half, including an exquisite free kick, to help Argentina beat Bolivia 3-0 in their World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
Teenager Sergio Aguero also scored his first international
goal four minutes before halftime while Javier Zanetti made a
record-breaking 116th appeance for Argentina.
Argentina have a maximum nine points from their three games
in the South American group. Bolivia have one point and have
yet to score. It was also their 11th successive defeat in
'Bolivia made things complicated in the first 20 minutes
when the game was boring and tedious,' said Argentina coach
Alfio Basile. 'But when we scored the first goal, the game
opened up and it was finished.'
Bolivia coach Erwin Sanchez said: 'Argentina's individual
qualities were fundamental and made the difference in the
'They scored their first goal at a key moment.'
Aguero, 19, was surprisingly included in Argentina's team
by Basile who picked him in a three-man attack with Carlos
Tevez on the left and Lionel Messi on the right.
The hosts struggled against a packed Bolivia defence for
the first 40 minutes and only Messi worried the visitors.
Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Arias was forced to dive at
Messi's feet as he burst into the penalty area and the
Barcelona player also had a shot deflected wide in the 26th
Messi went close again after a move involving Riquelme and
Aguero before Argentina broke through in the 41st minute when a
Martin Demichelis header back across goal was nodded in by the
Riquelme came to life after halftime, one of his free kicks
producing a superb one-handed save from Arias in the 51st
The keeper was powerless six minutes later as Riquelme
converted a pinpoint 25-metre free kick which dipped into the
top left-hand corner.
Riquelme, sidelined at his Spanish club Villarreal after
falling out with coach Manuel Pellegrini, made it 3-0 with a
stylish, sidefooted finish after another run by Messi in the
74th. He has scored four goals in three games in the group.