LA PAZ, April 2 – Argentina suffered their worst defeat in more than 60 years after losing 6-1 to Bolivia in a South American World Cup qualifier here on Wednesday night, their first loss under coach Diego Maradona.
Bolivia’s goals came from a Joaquin Botero hat-trick and Marcelo Martins, Alex Da Rosa and Didi Torrico while Argentina found the net through Luis Gonzalez at La Paz’s high-altitude Hernando Siles’s stadium.
Maradona said of the Argentina fans at the post-match press conference: "I suffered with them. Every Bolivian goal was a dagger in my heart."
Argentinian keeper Juan Pablo Carrizo, who had a memorable night for the wrong reasons, was first beaten in the 12th minute by striker Marcelo Martins, who plays for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine.
However, the Argentinians, twice world champions, were level in the 25th minute when Porto’s Luis Gonzalez hit a shot from 30-metres without much conviction but an unexpected bounce meant it went past Bolivia keeper Carlos Arias and into the net.
Bolivia went further ahead in the 34th minute through hat-trick hero Botero of Mexican club Correcaminos, Mexico.
An inspired and motivated Bolivia went 3-1 ahead just before the break through Da Rosa and then Botero got further goals in the 50th and 66th minutes. Torrico scored the sixth and final goal with three minutes to go.
Angel Di Maria was sent off in the 63rd minute to make a terrible night even worse.
Argentina’s national press panned the team.
The La Nacion newspaper had the headline: "Argentina’s worst defeat," adding the last time Argentina lost by a five-goal margin was a 5-0 loss to Colombia in 1993.
"A historic humiliation," said sports newspaper Ole on its website, adding: "This is our worst defeat in the qualifiers. What now.?"
"Argentina suffered a historic beating," said newspaper Clarin. "Bolivia were way superior and won 6-1 in La Paz."