With a new coach, Bolivia wins its first qualifying match, and Peru struggles

With a new coach, Bolivia wins its first qualifying match, and Peru struggles
National teams

A slow and choppy game secured the first three points for La Paz.

Bolivia vs. Peru
picture: Evie

It was by no means a spectacle, a fancy match or great theatrics, but that, at this point, doesn’t matter much in La Paz.

What matters is that Bolivia, with a new coach, achieved its first win over Peru 2-0, emerging from the basement of the 2026 World Cup qualifying table.

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The game was slow at first but the goal was awarded: a left-footed shot from Henry Vaca, after a pass from Marcelo Moreno Martins, opened the scoring after 20 minutes, something new for the loyal home crowd.

There would be no reaction in Peru, which only had one header diverted from La Padula, a team without weapons and without the spirit to look for another destination.

The second half started short, full of errors and poor accuracy, until the emotional moment arrived for Marcelo Moreno Martins in the 75th minute: his country retired in front of its people, amid wild applause and songs of thanks. His team (31 goals) is the third most productive in the playoffs. He was replaced by nationalized Colombian Jair Reynoso.

And then, in the 87th minute, there was great joy for the Bolivians: Ramiro Vaca from mid-range beat the goalkeeper after a pass from Jaime Arrascaeta, a goal that had to be reviewed by VAR in order to be put on the scoreboard.

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Antonio Carlos Zago achieved what seemed impossible: he gave the Bolivian national team, in La Paz, the first victory in the qualifiers, which did not radically change the panorama and only affected the bottom of the table: Bolivia is in ninth place with 3 points and Peru is in ninth place. Finally with one.

Oliver Walton

"Pro alcohol addict. Bacon scholar. Award-winning beer fan. Gamer. Social media expert. Zombie guru."

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