Aguero and Rojo return for Argentina against Chile

Sergio Aguero has been reinstated to the Argentina attack and Marcos Rojo will stand in for the suspended Ramiro Funes Mori in its critical 2018 World Cup qualifier against Chile at El Monumental on Thursday.

Sergio Aguero and Ezequiel Lavezzi during a training session ahead of Argentina’s match against Chile.   -  Reuters

Sergio Aguero has been reinstated to the Argentina attack and Marcos Rojo will stand in for the suspended Ramiro Funes Mori in its critical 2018 World Cup qualifier against Chile at El Monumental on Thursday.

READ: Argentina faces Chile test in South America World Cup race

Manchester City's Aguero gets his chance as Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is nursing a leg injury. Aguero will join Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain in a four-pronged attack in the teamcoach Edgardo Bauza named on Wednesday.

Rojo, Argentina’s left back at the 2014 World Cup, has been playing regularly as a central defender for Manchester United this year and will start at the heart of the Argentine defence for the match against the Copa America holders.

Kun (Aguero) is in the best form and with Messi, Di Maria and Higuain they can tip the balance, coach Edgardo Bauza told a news conference.

“Aguero will play behind the (number) nine (Higuain) but he's a forward,” Bauza added.

Its not a new position for Rojo as he's played 80 per cent of matches as a central defender for his club.

Aguero was on the bench for Argentina's last two qualifiers, a 3-0 defeat away to Brazil and a 3-0 home win over Colombia in November, while Rojo had been dropped altogether.

Argentina is fifth in the South American group, a position that would put it in an intercontinental playoff for a place at the finals in Russia. If it beats fourth-placed Chile, it will leapfrog Chile into the top-four automatic qualification berths.

Brazil is top with 27 points, Uruguay second with 23, followed by Ecuador and Chile on 20 and Argentina with 19.

“We’re going to play against a direct rival, well aware of the difficulties we could have (but) Ive always been an optimist and I have a lot of confidence in Argentinas players. I think well qualify,” Bauza said.

Sevillas Gabriel Mercado replaces the injured Pablo Zabaleta at right back.

A concern for Bauza is that 13 players, half his squad, are one yellow card away from suspension, including all of Thursday's starting line-up, except captain Messi. Argentina. World Cup finalists in 2014, must also beat Bolivia next Tuesday in La Paz where visiting teams often struggle to cope with the thin air at nearly 4,000 metres above sea level.

Chile, who beat Argentina on penalties in the last two Copa America finals, will be without the suspended Arturo Vidal and injured midfielder Marcelo Diaz, while defender Gary Medel is in doubt with a leg muscle injury.

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