Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Argentina criticize timing of FIFA’s four-match ban on Messi

Argentina head coach, Edgardo Bauza, has criticized FIFA for handing Lionel Messi a four-game ban just six hours, before his side were beaten 2-0 by Bolivia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins scored as Bolivia won comfortably at the Estadio Hernando Siles, jeopardising Argentina’s hopes of qualifying.

However, much of the pre-match talk centred around their captain, who was banned for four international matches for abusing an assistant referee during last Thursday’s win over Chile.

“When the rumour began to settle, the concern began to take on more volume,” Bauza said following the loss.

“It seemed strange that in one day everything could be done, that we did not have time to make an appeal.

“We did not have time to work with someone else. Now the corresponding procedure for the appeal is being processed.”

With Colombia and Chile both winning, Argentina slipped to fifth in the South American qualification race.

Speaking about the Bolivia match, Bauza admitted his team did not play well in the first half.

“We try to get prominence to Bolivia, the second half the team improved slightly,” he added.

“Bolivia won well. We must think in what’s coming. We are alive and wanting to qualify for the World Cup.

“We know that this is going to be a struggle and we will keep fighting.”

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