(CNN)On the face of it, as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes inside Boca Juniors' iconic La Bombonera, Argentina's goalless draw against Peru didn't seem too bad.
Argentina, with Lionel Messi at the heart of every move, had tried desperately to get their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track, but struggled to create against a resolute Peru team which had arrived in Buenos Aires with a clear and effective game plan.
Both sides had hit the woodwork and some sublime Messi footwork in the first half saw him evade his marker and curl a shot millimeters wide of the post.
With Ecuador scoring a late equalizer against Chile in Santiago and Paraguay doing likewise against Colombia, Argentina would head into the final match -- away to Ecuador -- with high hopes of qualifying automatically for Russia 2018.
But within the space of five chaotic minutes, Argentina's World Cup fate fell out of their own hands and into those of their South American rivals.
Alexis Sanchez's late winner for Chile, coupled with Paraguay snatching an injury-time winner in Barranquilla, means the Albiceleste are now sixth in the table, outside the qualification places, and need other results to favor them in the final round of fixtures if they are to qualify automatically.
The top four in the South American table qualify automatically, with the fifth-placed side contesting an intercontinental play-off against New Zealand for a place at the World Cup.
A supporter of Argentina contemplates his team's 0-0 draw with Peru in World Cup qualifying.
"Our situation is not very comfortable," Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli admitted to reporters after the stalemate. "But it depends on us. I remain confident we'll be in the World Cup.
"It would really be unfair if a group that put it all out there like they did does not advance. Throughout the game we had a marked advantage against them but we could not break through."
Source: CNN sports
07 October, 2017 12:05 pm