Peru 0-2 Argentina LIVE SCORE: Martinez and Gonzalez put Messi and co on course for win in World Cup qualifier – The Sun
ARGENTINA are in a strong position in Peru after Nico Gonzalez and Lautaro Martinez put them two goals to the good in Lima.
But the hosts may feel aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty early on.
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Christian Cueva goes off for Raul Ruidiaz for Peru.
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It's a yellow card for Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese!
Angel Di Maria is played through and Gallese comes charging out of his box.
The keeper wins the ball the first time but comes back for a second bite of the cherry and takes out the PSG man.
Neither player willing to give an inch.
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Messi coming to life now as he gets a run at goal, beats the defender and fires a left-footed shot past Gallese's right-hand post.
OT YOU GO
Nicolas Otamendi's yellow card means he will miss March's crucial qualifier at home to Uruguay.
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Very nearly an instant impact from Angel Di Maria as he forces a brilliant save from Gallese with a powerful low strike.
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Angel Di Maria comes on for Argentina.
Nico Gonzalez is the man going off and he can be very pleased with his night's work.
Though he looked more frustrated not to have scored more than one goal in this evening.
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Peru Captain Edison Flores goes off for Andy Polo while Aldo Corzo replaces Luis Advincula.
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Carrillo and Lapadula have a two-on-two break.
The former Watford and Benfica winger tries to play in his team-mate but Lapadula collides with the Argentine centre-back.
He appeals for a foul but the referee plays advantage to Argentina.
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A first chance for Lapadula who fires wide of the far post from an acute angle.
He'd have done well to get it on target from there.
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It's Argentina's turn to appeal for a penalty as Messi goes to ground in the box.
But the VAR official opts not to review it.
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The lively Andre Carrillo fires just wife for Peru from range.
Otamendi is booked for an earlier foul.
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It's a brilliant move from Argentina as Nico Gonzalez runs more than half the length of the pitch to find Messi.
He plays an exquisite chip to Martinez which is just cut out but the ball arrives at the feet of Ocampos who forces a great save from Gallese.
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It's a first substitution for Argentina as Rodrigo de Paul is replaced by Lucas Ocampos.
The Udinese man one of few Argentine attackers to have been a little quiet tonight.
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A first chance for the hosts as a header from point blank range is saved by a flapping Franco Armani.
He didn't look like he knew much about it.
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Nico Gonzalez is played through and a touch may well have made it 3-0.
But he loses his footing, falls over and smacks the ground.
He's absolutely fuming with himself.
THE SCAL-S ARE TIPPING
For a decade Argentina have been synonymous with over-reliance on Lionel Messi, but in his earlier days current boss Lionel Scaloni was criticised for barely using the six-time Ballon d-Or winner at all.
He's certainly made his critics eat their words tonight with Lo Celso and Paredes playing beautiful passes in midfield and Martinez and Gonzalez proving clinical in front of goal.
They don't have to worry about Messi going anywhere yet, but has Scaloni shown there's life after Lionel?
ATTACK IS THE WORST FORM OF DEFENCE
For Peru, this has been a million miles away from the last meeting between the two sides when they shut out Argentina with a brilliant defensive display to earn a crucial 0-0 draw at La Bombonera.
We're not even four games in and the Peruvians have conceded a total of ten goals, and you can see exactly why.
During the World Cup, Peru were very unlucky to be picked off on the counter-attack by France and Denmark, but there's been nothing unlucky about tonight's game.
LION IN WAIT
A quieter night for Lionel Messi so far.
But he won't mind as his team-mates are most certainly doing the business.
Peru have been trying to force the issue and competed well at times.
They may consider themselves unlucky not to have been given a penalty for Franco Armani's challenge on Cueva.
However, Argentina have been lethal on the counter-attack and look like they will score every time they cross the halfway line.
Peru could have had a goal but Messi and co could have been much further ahead.
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Signs of a threat from Peru as a powerful volley from Carrillo is deflected wide.
LET'S GET LAUT
Lautaro Martinez's goal to make it 2-0 to Argentina.
Easy as you like.
WE'RE ON THE BOL
An excellent result for Argentina as Bolivia hold Paraguay to a 2-2 draw in Asuncion.
Uruguay's 2-0 loss at home to Brazil also does no harm at all.
As things stand the Argentines will be four points ahead of Uruguay in fifth – the intercontinental play-off place – and six points ahead of Chile in sixth.
Looks like Argentine nails won't need to be bitten to the bone like in the 2018 World Cup qualifying session.
HAVING A LION?
“Argentina is looking good and Messi has little to do with it.”
GON WITH THE WIND
Here's Nico Gonzalez's goal which put Argentina in front.
Tottenham fans will be drooling at the prospect of more of this from Lo Celso!
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