Argentina concern over Messi fitness ahead of Venezuela clash

Lionel Messi, who led Argentina to a win despite playing with a groin injury, is a doubtful starter against Venezuela.

LionelMessi - Cropped

Lionel Messi suffered a groin injury and might not play Argentina's next World Cup qualifier against Venezuela.

Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza was happy to get a win on his debut but is unsure over the fitness of Lionel Messi after their 1-0 triumph against Uruguay. 

Messi scored the only goal of the game on Thursday as 10-man Argentina grinded out the victory against rival Uruguay, after Paulo Dybala was sent off just before half-time. 

The Copa America Centenario runner-up had dominated play up until that point, but was able to continue to control the second half despite their disadvantage. 

Bauza was full of praise for his Argentina players as the side moved above Uruguay and to the top of the CONMEBOL qualification standings. 

"Up until we had 11 players we dominated the game and with our retention of the ball we made the difference," he said. 

"With a player less we kept up our play, we just lacked a bit out counter attack. We won a game that is always difficult. Uruguay are a complicated rival."

On Messi, Bauza said the Barcelona star was playing through some pain ahead of the Uruguay fixture and could be a doubt for Tuesday's away clash against Venezuela.

"Messi played a great game despite his pain," Bauza added. 

"He suffered a groin injury and those know how painful that can be. We have to wait to see if Messi can play against Venezuela. 

"In the next 48 hours we will know how he is. But we will not risk him."

As for Dybala's replacement, Bauza said: "I have two or three options to take his place. But if Messi is OK, we don't need to change our picture."

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