BUENOS AIRES, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Argentina were counting the casualties on Sunday after beating neighbours Uruguay 2-1 in an often brutal River Plate derby.
Coach Alfio Basile said forward Sergio Aguero, midfielder Javier Mascherano and defender Martin Demichelis were all doubtful for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier away to Chile after Saturday’s bruising tie in Buenos Aires.
In addition, playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme and striker Carlos Tevez are suspended.
Riquelme, ever-present in the qualifiers, was booked for arguing with the referee over a free kick in the second half while Tevez, sent off in two of his previous three internationals, was given a yellow card for petulantly kicking the ball away.
Basile will now be forced to field a team without Riquelme, which many critics have urged him to do in any case.
“We’re expecting a very tough match against Chile,” said Basile.
“I remember when we went there to play at the Copa America in 1991, they certainly made us feel like the away team,” said Basile, who was in his first stint as coach at the time.
Saturday’s win, achieved with goals from Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero in the first quarter of an hour, ended an exasperating run of six successive draws - four in the qualifiers and two in friendlies -- for Basile’s team.
But the crowd once again left the Monumental stadium with the feeling that Argentina had not played to their potential.
Argentina were not blameless for the vicious second half, allowing themselves to get drawn into a physical battle.
Riquelme, in a public row with a Boca Juniors team mate earlier this week, provided a pinpoint cross for the first goal and had his name cheered by the crowd but faded badly in the second half as he again looked short of fitness.
And, despite having Diego Milito on the bench, Basile again decided to play without a target man, only bringing the striker on near the end.
Argentine media gave a lukewarm response to the performance. “Just a little bit of breathing space,” said La Nacion on the cover of its sports’ supplement. (Editing by Rex Gowar)
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