Argentina had to claw their way back from two goals down to draw 2 – 2 in their 2018 World Cup qualifier against minnows Venezuela in the clash staged at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitan in Merida, Venezuela early on Wednesday 7 September.
Were it not for the slump in the second half, Venezuela were close to pulling one of the greatest shocks in the qualifiers against a side without their talismanic skipper Lionel Messi who is out nursing a groin injury.
Goals from Juan Pablo Anor on the 35th minute and Josef Martinez’s strike on 53 minutes had the hosts two up with just over half an hour to play, but Edgardo Bauza’s men eventually fought their way into the match.
Atletico Mineiro forward Lucas Pratto brought Argentina back into the game with a well-taken strike on the hour mark, before Nicolas Otamendi’s 83rd minute effort ensured that La Albiceleste left Venezuela with a share of the spoils.
They may have saved themselves from the jaws of defeat but the draw was just as deflating, with Argentina dropping to third place in the qualifying log, courtesy of Brazil’s 2 – 1 win over Colombia and Uruguay’s 4 – 0 thrashing of Paraguay.
Uruguay leads the way with 16 points from eight matches while Brazil is second with 15 points, similar to Argentina who have an inferior goal difference.
Ecuador, currently playing Peru could join Uruguay at the top with a win, as they have 13 points so far.