Argentina battling Peru's home fans

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Peru will try and ride overwhelming hometown support to an upset of Argentina.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Lima :

Peru will try and ride an overwhelming hometown support to upset Argentina. Peru, hosting the Copa for the first time since 1957, has drawn thousands to its practices in preparing to try and end a seven-year-long losing run to Argentina. "For us, this is like playing a final," said Peru coach Paulo Autuori. Juventus defender Paolo Montero was over his back problems and able to play Paraguay tomorrow for Uruguay, which was replacing goalkeeper Luis Barbat, who allowed seven goals in three games. Sebastian Viera, a late call up after No. 1 Fabian Carini was injured before the opening 2-2 draw with Mexico. Peru will start underpowered without scoring threats Jefferson Farfan and Flavio Maestri. Maestri, playing in his seventh Copa, had a muscle injury and might be a last-minute addition, while 19-year-old Farfan, recently signed to PSV Eindhoven, was banned on yellow-card accumulation. "Not having Pizarro and Farfan will make things very difficult for us," Autuori said. "We will need to really concentrate, especially in our individual matchups, on both offense and defence." Javier Mascherano, the 20-year-old River Plate star who has emerged as a steadying force in the midfield, was banned because of yellow cards, and will be replaced by Villareal's Fabricio Coloccini. (PTI)