Argentina under-20s’ struggles cast a spotlight on the nation’s youth football and Miguel Ángel Micó’s under-17s did little to ease those concerns with defeat against Venezuela in their opening Sudamericano match in Chile.
Los Pibes shaded the opening 45 minutes and Boca Juniors duo Facundo Colidio and Agustín Obando both wasted decent openings to take the lead.
However, a flat second half was punished when Sebastián Chalbaud volleyed Venezuela ahead from the edge of the penalty area.
A minute later, the lead was almost doubled when Boca goalkeeper Manuel Roffo fumbled a ball against his own post and shortly after only a goalline Marcelo Weigandt block prevented Jorge Echeverría from scoring.
Micó introduced Manchester City’s Benjamín Garré but there was little response from Argentina and aside from centre back Rodrigo Cavallera going close there was little sign of an equaliser.
Argentina face Paraguay on Sunday evening and already find themselves under pressure if they are to qualify for the final group stage.