Argentina under-20s defensive frailties were ruthlessly exposed again earlier in Wellington as Humberto Grondona’s side suffered a 3-2 defeat to Ghana which leaves them in a critical condition if they are to avoid a first round elimination for the World Cup.
Despite the return of River Plate’s Emanuel Mammana to the defence, Grondona’s suicidal 3-4-3 formation was picked apart by their African opposition and the half time scoreline could have been far worse. As it was, Ghana had to wait until just before the break to make their deserved breakthrough when the Argentine defence parted and allowed a simple pass to feed Benjamin Tetteh in the penalty area. His finish past Augusto Batalla was excellent but the defending in the build-up was shambolic.
Argentina improved as an attacking unit after the break but remained haphazard at the back and were punished on the hour mark when Clifford Aboagye ran clear on the break and slotted past Batalla from the edge of the penalty area. Ten minutes later, Manchester City academy star, Yaw Yeboah slotted in a third from the penalty spot and it was suddenly looking a little embarrassing for Los Pibes.
Giovani Simeone tapped in what appeared to be a consolation goal ten minutes from time after Lawrence Ati spilled a simple cross at the young strikers feet and when Emiliano Buendía fired in a second with minutes remaining it gave a brief moment of hope for Argentina. However, a third did not come and Argentina would not have deserved it in any case.
The result leaves Argentina needing to beat Austria on Friday after the Europeans defeat Panama and so sit on four points with Ghana in the two automatic qualification spots.