Sergio Aguer failed to score a penalty as Argentina suffered their first home loss in a 1-0 World Cup qualifier loss against Paraguay in Cordoba.
Having announced himself fit despite the calf injury picked up during training, Aguero failed to make impact after he had his penalty kick saved by Paraguay goalkeeper, Justo Villar who recorded his first start since this year’s Copa America.
It was an essential moment with Argentina already trailing to Derlis Gonzalez’s counter-attacking opener in the first half, after the winger exploited a lack of pace in an opposition defense.
Paraguay sat on the goal, inviting pressure from the hosts, who struck the post through Angel Di Maria in the first half as Marcos Rojo goal was controversially ruled out as offside.
Argentina, without Lionel Messi due to a groin injury, could not break down Francisco Arce’s side and subsequently drop out of the automatic qualification spots in the CONMEBOL section following a third match without a victory.
Paraguay were close to scoring an opener in the seventh minute when Gustavo Gomez gave a diving header wide using Oscar Romero’s free-kick from the left. They only had to wait 11 more minutes to make the breakthrough, though, and it came following a rapid counter-attack.
Angel Di Maria came close to restoring parity midway through the half when his left-footed sprint from the edge of the box hit the base of the post and went behind, while Rojo sliced an opportunity over in the 26th minute.
The hosts got a brilliant chance to equalize at the beginning of the second half when a header from Gonzalo Higuain struck Paulo da Silva’s arms inside the box, but Villar dived low to his left to deny Aguero from netting the awarded penalty.
Argentina continued to be in charge of the pitch but Higuain could not poke in Di Maria’s low cross in the 64th minute as substitute, Paulo Dybala had a 20-yard drive batted away by Villar as Paraguay clung on to an important three points.