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Uruguay hand Argentina first loss since World Cup 2022 triumph

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Uruguay ended the 14-match unbeaten streak of Argentina with a 2-0 victory over the world champions in World Cup qualifiers on Thursday.

Defender Ronald Araujo fired Uruguay ahead in 41 minutes before Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez made the game safe with an 87th-minute goal on the counterattack to settle a hard-fought clash at the Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires.

It was Lionel Messi and Argentina’s first defeat of the World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign, and their first loss since they were stunned 2-1 by Saudi Arabia at the World Cup 2022 in Qatar before becoming the eventual champions.

“We never felt comfortable,” Messi said after the defeat.

“They’re a physical team that works well and on the counterattack, they were very dangerous,” added Messi, praising the work of Uruguay’s revered Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa.

“You can see his hand in the team. In all the teams or clubs he’s been involved in, including Argentina, you can see his hand,” said Messi.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni meanwhile backed his team to recover from the loss against Uruguay before next week’s showdown with Brazil.

“There is a very difficult game coming up and we will try to do our best; I think this team has shown plenty of times that it can get out of difficult situations,” Scaloni said.

“We lose and win as a team, and there are times when you have to give credit to the opponent,” Scaloni added.

“We can’t think that because we’re world champions, we can’t lose. We are not unbeatable — I’ve said it before and will continue to say it.”

Argentina, who had won all four of their opening qualifiers, remain on top of the standings with 12 points from five matches. Uruguay’s win leaves them in second place on 10 points.

READ: Asian heavyweights win big to launch World Cup qualifying in style

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