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Copa America Semi-Final

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Messi targets Paraguay win

Lionel Messi is wary of the threat posed by Paraguay as Argentina aim to extend their five-match winning streak.

Last Updated: 06/09/12 at 22:57

Lionel Messi: Looking for a win against Paraguay on Friday

Lionel Messi: Looking for a win against Paraguay on Friday

South American opponents out to stop Argentine superstar

Lionel Messi is wary of the threat posed by Paraguay as Argentina aim to extend their five-match winning streak in Friday's World Cup qualifier.

Argentina's run of victories has included qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia to lift them up to third place in the group after a dismal start that included a defeat to Venezuela.

With Uruguay and Chile still ahead of his team, Messi knows Argentina must pick up three points.

"Paraguay will be very difficult opponents but we must get the job done at home," said the Barcelona forward.

Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero added: "Paraguay maybe are the most difficult adversaries we had in the past.

"We lost the last two matches we played in Asuncion and had to battle hard to rescue a draw at home."

Injuries

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has endured a difficult build-up with Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini both unavailable through injury.

With the versatile Pablo Zabaleta also a doubt due to a hamstring strain, Sabella is forced into several unwanted changes. But Messi does not think that is an excuse.

He added: "Despite the changes, the group is always as strong and that's a good thing."

Although Paraguay have picked up just one win from their first five games, midfielder Victor Ayala is confident - if they can stop Messi.

The Lanus player said: "Without Messi, Argentina is not much better than us. If we can control him our chances will surely improve."

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