Copa America 2011, Argentina Vs. Bolivia: Hosts Drop Points In Shocking 1-1 Draw

As the hosts and tournament favorites, Argentina were supposed to run over Bolivia. The small nation and the minnows of South American football were supposed to be a mere stepping stone for Argentina as they cruised into the knockout stages without much of a hiccup. Just like when they defeated Argentina 6-1 in La Paz in 2009, Bolivia didn't get the memo and proceeded to challenge Argentina for 90 minutes, fighting them to a 1-1 draw. Bolivia didn't look great going forward for any period of the match, but they held Argentina to just four or five scoring chances, and it would be unfair to say that they didn't earn their point.

The first half was rather uneventful, with Esteban Cambiasso missing badly from 10 yards out for the best chance of the half and Ezequiel Lavezzi putting one decent shot just wide. Argentina had all of the possession, but they were unable to create clear-cut chances as Bolivia played a physical game and defended well. At halftime, Sergio Batista made a tactical switch, bringing in winger Angel di Maria for central midfielder Esteban Cambiasso.

Bolivia would strike first in the second half, with Edivaldo scoring with a backheel on a corner kick that was terribly defended. The corner was taken low and to the near post, where Edivaldo ran onto the ball and tried his shot. Ever Banega should have been able to clear easily, but the ball rolled between his legs and over the line. It was an unfortunate moment for Banega, who had passed the ball brilliantly in midfield and, up until that point, looked like Argentina's best player.

For a period of about 20 minutes, it appeared that Argentina were actually going to lose the opening game of Copa America at home, but Batista's decision to substitute Sergio Aguero in for Carlos Tevez turned out to be the masterstroke that rescued a point for the Albiceleste. On a free kick in the 75th minute, Angel di Maria sent in a ball to the far post, towards Nicolas Burdisso. The big defender got up and chested the ball down to Aguero, who hit a stunning volley into the back of the net, equalizing for Argentina.

Both teams had scoring chances from then until the end, with Argentina looking considerably better, but neither was able to convert and the match ended in a draw that Bolivia will be much happier with than their opponents. Argentina's next match is against Colombia, who are a much more talented side than Bolivia. Ahead of that match, the alarm bells are now ringing in Argentina.

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