Venezuela 2 Argentina two: Otamendi saves Bauza’s side from shock defeat

With Lionel Messi missing as a result of injury, Argentina narrowly escaped defeat away at Venezuela due to Nicolas Otamendi’s late equaliser.

Argentina avoided a shock defeat to Venezuela as Nicolas Otamendi salvaged a point against Venezuela having a 2-2 draw in their 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Metropolitano in Merida on Tuesday.
Edgardo Bauza looked to be heading for his initially loss in the Argentina helm, but Otamendi made an instinctive volley to level the score seven minutes from time and deny Venezuela a initially win of your campaign.
The Albiceleste have been unable to contact upon Lionel Messi, whose objective on his return from international retirement secured a 1-0 victory over Uruguay final Thursday sent them leading in the table, as a consequence of a hamstring injury, and his absence pretty much proved very expensive.
Argentina fell behind in the 1st half to an exquisite left-footed strike from Juanpi for his initially senior international purpose, even though Josef Martinez extended the benefit for Rafael Dudamel’s side eight minutes soon after half-time with a composed finish.
Nevertheless, Lucas Pratto gave Argentina hope when he responded by opening his international account in just his second look, and Otamendi’s late strike ensured the spoils had been shared.
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero almost threw it away when he spilled a free-kick straight to Mikel Villanueva, but he hit the post as Venezuela stay rooted towards the foot with the table with no a win whilst Bauza’s side slip to second.
Venezuela began positively and looked to obtain in behind around the wings, but Ever Banega supplied a reminder of Argentina’s threat when he fired narrowly wide from 25 yards in the 15th minute.
Martinez felt he need to happen to be awarded a penalty midway through the half, however the referee saw nothing at all wrong using the challenge from Otamendi and rather gave Argentina a free-kick for a handball by Martinez.
Nonetheless, Venezuela’s persistence paid off 10 minutes prior to half-time. Juanpi showed great feet around the right-hand side in the box to wriggle away from Javier Mascherano and Marcos Rojo just before bending a sublime left-footed shot in to the far corner.
It could have been worse for Argentina had Pablo Zabaleta not produced a superb last-ditch tackle to quit Martinez slotting Alexander Gonzales’ cross house within the 39th minute, but Dudamel’s side did extend their benefit eight minutes right after the restart.
Salomon Rondon showed excellent strength to outmuscle Otamendi before cutting back to Martinez, who committed Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero ahead of slotting home.
Argentina responded positively, halving the deficit five minutes later when Pratto produced essentially the most of ricochets off Jose Velasquez and Villanueva to stab house.
Di Maria came close to levelling but had his strike from an acute angle batted away by Hernandez inside the 67th minute, but the Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder played a function within the equaliser.
His corner found Otamendi inside the six-yard box, and also the centre-back poked property a first-time finish to spare Argentina’s blushes.
Villanueva struck the upright immediately after a moment of madness from Romero close to the death, but Venezuela will stay pleased with an unlikely point.