Football

Lionel Messi bemoans 'terrible' altitude in Bolivia

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Barcelona star Lionel Messi bemoaned the 'terrible' conditions playing at altitude in Bolivia as Argentina secured a hard-fought draw on the road to qualification for the 2014 World Cup.

Bolivia went ahead midway through the first period courtesy of a header from Marcelo Martins, but Ever Banega was able to level proceedings for Argentina before the interval, and Messi squandered a chance to win it.

Argentina found it difficult to cope with the thin air of La Paz with the stadium located 4000 metres above sea level, and Messi claimed a 1-1 draw in Conmebol section was a good result for his country, given the testing conditions.

"It is terrible to play here at altitude, so a draw is a good result for us," the Barcelona forward said after the game.

"Every time you make an effort or play at high pace, you need time to recover.

"Some of the players had a headache and others felt a bit dizzy, but there was nothing wrong with me."

Messi was pictured vomiting on the pitch, while Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria was required to be given oxygen on the pitch as the Argentina players gasped for breath on the site of their 6-1 humiliation almost four years ago.

Argentina top their group on the way to the World Cup in Brazil next year, with La Albiceleste four points clear of second placed Ecuador, who have a game in hand.

Messi, meanwhile, will now return to Barcelona in time for Saturday's encounter with Celta Vigo, as the 25-year-old looks to complete his record of scoring against every La Liga club this season in consecutive matches.

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