Mexico-based midfielder Pizarro gets first Argentina call

Football Soccer - Tigres v Pumas - The first leg of their Mexican first division final soccer match

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Mexico-based midfielder Guido Pizarro was called up for the first time by Argentina on Wednesday for their 2018 World Cup qualifiers next month.

Pizarro, who plays for UANL Tigres in the Liga MX, was one of four players coach Edgardo Bauza added to the squad he named last week for matches against Peru in Lima on Oct. 6 and at home to Paraguay in Cordoba five days later.

The others are River Plate striker Lucas Alario, San Lorenzo left back Emmanuel Mas and Estudiantes goalkeeper Mariano Andujar, who were all in the squad for the previous qualifiers early this month.

Bauza included Pizarro, a midfielder with good playmaking skills, owing to the loss through injury of Atletico Madrid’s Augusto Fernandez.

The 26-year-old Pizarro began his career at Lanus before moving in 2013 to Tigres, with whom he won the Mexican Apertura title last year.

Argentina will be without injured captain Lionel Messi, who scored in their 1-0 win at home to Uruguay on Sept. 1 but missed the 2-2 draw in Venezuela five days later.

They are third in the 10-nation South American group with 15 points from eight matches, one point behind leaders Uruguay and behind second-placed Brazil on goal difference.

The top four go through to the finals in Russia while the fifth-placed team qualify for an intercontinental playoff for another ticket.

(Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Andrew Both)