Argentina set to appeal Lionel Messi ban as manager Edgardo Bauza questions timing of captain's suspension

Ben Burrows
Argentina plan on appealing Lionel Messi's suspension: Getty

Argentina are set to appeal Lionel Messi's four-match suspension as manager Edgardo Bauza questioned the timing of the suspension handed down to his captain.

In Messi's absence the Albiceleste slipped to a damaging defeat in Bolivia, Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins with the goals in a 2-0 win for the hosts, to leave their qualification hopes for next year's World Cup hanging in the balance.

Head coach Edgardo Bauza criticised Fifa for handing Lionel Messi a four-game suspension hours before his side slumped to a 2-0 defeat in Bolivia that jeopardised their hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup.

Messi will miss four of Argentina's five remaining qualifying games (Getty)

Messi was banned for four international matches for abusing an assistant referee during last Thursday's win over Chile with the suspension handed down just hours before kick-off in La Paz, a decision that left Bauza bemused.

"When the rumour began to settle, the concern began to take on more volume," he said. "It seemed strange that in one day everything could be done, that we did not have time to make an appeal.

"We did not have time to work with someone else. Now the corresponding procedure for the appeal is being processed."

With Colombia and Chile both winning, Argentina slipped to fifth in the South American qualification race - with only the top four teams earning an automatic ticket to Russia next summer.

Despite having had his tactics disrupted in the build-up, Bauza admitted his side had underperformed in the first half.

"We try to get prominence to Bolivia, the second half the team improved slightly," he added.

Argentina's defeat in La Paz means they are far from certain of qualification for next year's World Cup (Getty)

"Bolivia won well. We must think in what's coming. We are alive and wanting to qualify for the World Cup.

"We know that this is going to be a struggle and we will keep fighting."

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