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Nov 11, 2011

Lavezzi saves Argentina, Suarez stars

Argentina were held to a disappointing draw at home by Bolivia in the third round of the South American qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

The home side even had to come from a goal down as substitite Ezequiel Lavezzi levelled the opener from Bolivia's Martins Moreno as many of the fans at the poorly attended match booed as they left the stadium.

Bolivia made their intentions clear from early on as they packed their half of the field, making it difficult for Argentina to create clear-cut chances; Javier Pastore was charged with supplying Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain but found himself heavily marked for most of the match.

Ten minutes into the second half a mistake by Argentina defender Martin Demichelis was punished as Moreno beat goalkeeper Sergio Romero to open the scoring.

However, Argentina were level four minutes later when Lavezzi, who had come on as a substitute to replace Ricky Alvarez, equalised with a low shot from just inside the area after an assist from Fernando Gago,

The Napoli forward then went close to scoring a second for Argentina on two occasions, first firing wide from Higuain's pass before putting a header wide of the target. Lionel Messi also went close to scoring, failing to get a good shot in after being set up by Pastore and then hitting another effort wide.

But Argentina were unable to break down the Bolivia defence for a second time and had to settle for an unexpected and disappointing draw.

Elsewhere, Uruguay had Luis Suarez to thanks as they thrashed Chile 4-0, with the Liverpool striker claiming all four goals for the 2011 Copa America winners in Montevideo.

Suarez was in outstanding form and sent Uruguay into a two-goal lead in the first-half with two strikes in the space of three minutes.

Having terrorised the Chile defence early on and already been denied by the woodwork, Suarez made no mistake with a low, long-range drive to opening the scoring and added a second goal two minutes later, putting pressure on Waldo Ponce in the air and forcing the ball in with what appeared to be a deflection off the centre-back's shoulder.

Suarez headed in a third goal from Martin Caceres' cross in the second half and compounded Chile's misery when he volleyed home with 15 minutes to go to claim his first four-goal haul for his country.

Uruguay have now gone 12 games unbeaten, including their three opening qualifying matches, while Chile - shorn of five players after Claudio Borghi axed the quintet from his squad for an alleged breach of discipline - will try to regroup against Paraguay on Tuesday.

For now, they are three points ahead of Paraguay, who beat Ecuador 2-1. Paraguay hit the woodwork in the first half through Marcelo Estigarribia and opened up a two-goal lead early in the second period through Cristian Riveros and Dario Veron. Ecuador's consolation came from Joao Rojas in injury time.

Colombia drew 1-1 at home against Venezuela. Fredy Guarin put the Colombians ahead in the 11th minute, but they were unable to secure the win and Venezuela levelled in the 78th minute through Frank Feltscher.

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