Lautaro Martínez’s 95th minute equaliser may have kept Argentina’s hopes of World Cup qualification alive but ahead of Saturday’s final round they hang by the thinnest of threads as another chapter of failure at youth level looks increasingly likely.
Venezuela’s earlier victory not only denied Uruguay the title but meant Argentina had to avoid defeat against a Brazil side, who themselves have badly underperformed in Ecuador, to remain in the hunt for a place at the under-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Claudio Úbeda opted for changes to the side that were badly defeated by Ecuador on Sunday and with no Marcelo Torres, Tomás Conechny or Ezequiel Barco, Argentina hoped that with Tomás Belmonte reinstalled alongside Santiago Ascacibar in central midfield there would be greater stability.
However, all plans went out the window when a relatively straight forward ball over the top allowed Brazilian striker Richarlison two attempts to steer the ball past Facundo Cambeses with less than ten minutes on the clock.
Argentina were again floundering in attack but did manage to pull level midway through the first half when Brian Mansilla stabbed in from close range at a corner but moments of control and quality were few and far between.
A draw didn’t end Argentina’s hopes but defeat did and so when Belmonte foolishly tugged a shirt under the watchful eye of the referee it gifted Brazil a penalty. Felipe Vizeu obligingly tucked it away and Los Pibes were staring at failure.
Úbeda threw on Barco and Ramón Mierez to add attacking intent but in the 20 minutes remaining Argentina still failed to create any meaningful chances.
Deep into injury time, Conechny floated a cross into the penalty area from the left and Lautaro Martínez headed past Lucas Perri unmarked to at least salvage a point.
Avoiding defeat with the last kick of the game has ensured that Argentina still have a job to do on Saturday but qualifcation is out of their hands.
Argentina face Venezuela, who could still claim the title in the event of a draw between Uruguay and Ecuador, while Brazil take on Colombia, knowing that a win would book their place in South Korea.
Argentina 2 – 2 Brazil