Argentina finally overcame its high altitude jinx in La Paz to beat Bolivia 2-1 on Tuesday in South American World Cup qualifiers – the second consecutive victory for Lionel Messi’s team and its first in the altitude of La Paz since 2005.
La Paz historically holds old traumas for Argentina in World Cup qualifiers with the biggest in 2009 when Bolivia under Diego Maradona then had an astonishing 6-1 win over Messi’s team. The superstar also failed to impress in 2017, losing 2-0 in the Bolivian capital.
History seemed set to repeat after Marcelo Martins opened the scoring for the hosts with an easy header in the 24th minute, raising the specter of another bad day for the Argentina team 3,600 meters above sea level in the Bolivian capital.
But a determined Argentinean team persistently held on for a hard-fought 2-1 win thanks to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa.
“It was a great win in the altitude, where it costs more,” Messi said in his social media channels. “There’s still a lot to go, the qualifiers have just started, and we are very happy for these two wins.”
However, the match was not without drama as Lionel Messi went into a fit of rage post-match and lashed out at Bolivia coach, Lucas Nava.
As both teams’ players and staff shook hands at the end of the game, an enraged Messi unleashed a scathing missive at Lucas Nava, with TYC Sports enlisting a lip-reader to break down what was said, with the translation being a tad too crude to repeat herein as the Barcelona superstar made a disrespectful comment refering to the private part of Nava’s mother before calling the coach ‘Baldie’.
Messi appears to have been angered by the fact that Nava was shouting at him throughout the game, whilst standing on the sidelines.
Well, it just shows that regardless of whether it’s Bartomeu and his board goons or an insensitive rival coach messing around, it’s not prudent to get in the bad books of the Barcelona talisman whose temperament seems to be a bit volatile this period, to say the least.