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Bolivia hits Argentina for six

BOLIVIA hammered Argentina 6-1 in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday and shattered coach Diego Maradona said that each goal was like a stab in his heart.

Paraguay scored in injury-time to draw 1-1 in Ecuador and stays top of the South American group while Brazil moved into second place after two goals from Luis Fabiano helped them to a straightforward 3-0 win at home to Peru.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi was upstaged by a player from the Mexican second division as Maradona's 100 percent record went up in smoke at 3,600 meters above sea level in La Paz.

Bolivia striker Joaquin Botero, who plays for a team called Correcaminos, scored a hat-trick and took his tally in the competition to eight goals.

Marcelo Martins, Alex Da Rosa and Didi Torrico were also on target for Bolivia as Argentina shipped six goals for the first time since it lost by the same score to Czechoslovakia at the 1958 World Cup.

Luis Gonzalez replied for Argentina, briefly putting them back on level terms in the 25th minute, before a Botero penalty and Alex Da Rosa header gave Bolivia a 3-1 halftime lead, Martins having opened the scoring the 12th minute.

Botero added two more in the second half and Torrico completed the rout.

"I suffered with them (the Argentine public)," Maradona told reporters, himself appearing short of breath. "Every Bolivia goal was a stab in my heart.

"If we had dreamed this was going to happen before the game, we would have thought it was impossible."

Before taking over as coach last October, Maradona had publicly backed Bolivia's campaign against a FIFA ban on high altitude matches, playing in a charity match in La Paz alongside the country's president Evo Morales.

The ban was later overturned.

Argentina slipped to fourth in the 10-team group with 19 points from 12 games, the lowest of the positions in which it can finish and qualify directly for South Africa in 2010.

Fifth place would mean a two-leg play off against the fourth side from the CONCACAF region.

Paraguay has 24 points while Brazil is three behind but only eight points separate them from eighth-placed Venezuela.

Brazil had little trouble in overcoming demoralised, table-propping Peru in Porto Alegre.

Luis Fabiano put the Brazilians ahead with an 18th minute penalty after a foul on Kaka and added another nine minutes later.


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