Javier Mascherano's poor start to the season hit a new low on Thursday evening after his defensive error cost Argentina a valuable two points in a World Cup qualifying match against Peru.
Deep into into the game, the Albiceleste were leading the game 2-1 until Mascherano's attempt at a back-pass completely failed.
The ball landed at the feet of Paolo Guerrero who was then fouled by Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori in an unimpressive passage of play for the World Cup runners-up. Peru buried the resulting penalty to take an unlikely point from the encounter.
Following the game, Mascherano couldn't hold back his frustration that it was his mistake that cost his national side the victory. Speaking to local media, he blurted out several expletives.
"Regrettably, because of my mistake, we don't take all three points," he told local broadcaster TyC post-match. "It's s**t. I leave her angry with the error I've made. It's ended up costing us the two points. I f****d up all the effort the team put in."
The game marked the halfway point in South America's extensive qualification process. After nine matches, Uruguay sit top with 19 points with Brazil close behind on 18. A win would have put Argentina level with the Seleção but they currently find themselves tied with Ecuador and Colombia.
Their inferior goal difference means they sit in the intercontinental play-off position (otherwise known as fifth) where they would face a two-legged match against the Oceania group. For a team that boasts the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero, it's certainly a position they didn't expect to be in.
A bit Messi
But their task was made more difficult by the absence of Lionel Messi, who is currently sidelined with a groin injury. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has managed just one appearances for Argentina since coming out of a short-lived retirement in July.
Messi also missed last month's game against Venezuela, which also ended in an entertaining, but ultimately disappointing, 2-2 draw. It was one of only two points the South American underdogs have garnered from their nine qualifying games.
And the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will still be on the sidelines for Argentina's next qualifying game on Wednesday. The home game to Paraguay has added significance as they sit four points behind them in sixth. A defeat and the prospect of not qualifying for the World Cup becomes a real possibility.
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