BUENOS AIRES, NOVEMBER 17 (IANS): The Lionel Messi-led Argentina lost to Uruguay 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers at the Bombonera stadium thanks to goals from Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez in each half.
Uruguay was superior from beginning to end and, with the victory, moved up to second place in the standings with 10 points, two points behind leaders Argentina who have lost their first point after winning first four games. Uruguay was aggressive from the start against the World Cup champions. Darwin Núnez nearly opened the scoring with a crossed shot in the 10th minute after a mistake by defender Nicolás Otamendi.
Argentina hadn't lost a competitive match since its group-stage opener against Saudi Arabia during last year's World Cup in Qatar.
Thiss was the first time Argentina conceded a goal after FIFA World Cup 2022 finals win.
Núnez scored in the 87th minute on a counter after the Uruguayan defense stopped Messi at the edge of its box.
Argentina still leads the 10-team South American qualifying group with 12 points from five matches. Uruguay is second with 10 points. Colombia has nine and Venezuela eight.
Brazil will host the World Cup champions at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in fifth position, with seven points.
"We never felt comfortable in this match," Messi said. "Uruguay is a physical team, they have good teamwork. It is always like that against them."
Messi's close friend Luis Suárez, who just returned to the Uruguayan national team, did not play.
In the previous round of World Cup qualifying, Uruguay beat Brazil by the same score in Montevideo. Its next match will be against Bolivia.