Peru missed a second-half penalty in a 1-0 loss to Argentina in Buenos Aires on Thursday, delivering another blow to its hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Trailing to a first-half goal from Lautaro Martinez, Peru had a golden opportunity to level the score when substitute Jefferson Farfan was brought down in the box 19 minutes into the second half as he attempted to round keeper Emiliano Martinez.
However, Yoshimar Yotun’s penalty clipped the bar as the visitor fell to a seventh defeat in 12 qualifiers.
The win saw Lionel Scaloni’s side move on to 25 points, three behind leader Brazil, which is playing Uruguay on Thursday. The top four qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.
Argentina’s Cristian Romero had a headed goal disallowed for offside after 10 minutes and Angel Di Maria missed two good chances while Peru’s Gianluca Lapadula squandered an excellent opportunity after skillfully chesting down a cross just metres from goal.
Argentina deservedly took the lead three minutes from half time when Martinez glanced a header into the roof of the net.
Peru fought valiantly in the second half but there was no way back after the penalty miss and Argentina had a second goal from Guido Rodriguez ruled out two minutes from time.
Earlier on Thursday, Bolivia won its second game in a row to keep its chances of reaching a first World Cup since 1994 alive with a 4-0 win over Paraguay in La Paz.
Rodrigo Ramallo, Moises Villaroel, Victor Abrego and Roberto Fernandez scored to lift the home side on to 12 points, the same as Paraguay, which missed a penalty with the score at 1-0.
Ecuador remains third on 17 points after a 0-0 draw at Colombia, which is a point and a place behind. Colombia’s Yerry Mina thought he had scored with the last kick of the game but it was disallowed for handball.