Argentina under-23s continued their preparation ahead of January’s pre-Olympic tournament in Colombia with a 2-2 draw against Mexico in the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez.
A feisty friendly saw coach Fernando Batista sent off following a contentious Mexican penalty and after Argentina equalised for the second time, Adolfo Gaich was also given his marching orders to see the Albiceleste finish the game with ten men.
Mexico had already threatened from set-pieces when Vladimir Loroña headed the hosts in front after quarter of an hour. With a strong central defence of Cristian Romero and Marcos Senesi, coach Fernando Batista will have been unhappy with the space that Loroña found to beat Facundo Cambeses.
Juventus-owned Romero would swiftly make amends, heading in an equaliser from Lucas Robertone’s corner and Argentina should have been in front before the break were it not for an incorrect offside flag.
If Batista was angered by Robertone’s disallowed goal, the Argentina coach lost it completely when Mexico were awarded a penalty just after the break. Eduardo Aguirre tumbled with Romero in close proximity, the referee pointed to the spot allowing Aguirre to restore Mexico’s lead and resulting in Batista’s expulsion.
Argentina were not to be denied and Robertone got his goal after the ball ricocheted into the Vélez midfielder’s path in the penalty area.
Adolfo Gaich went close to firing a winner before being shown a red card fifteen minutes from time for a studs-up challenge on José Ezquivel, sparking plenty of pushing and shoving from players and substitutes.
There was little friendly about the draw and the two sides meet again on Tuesday in Pachuca.
Argentina: Facundo Cambeses; Hernán De La Fuente, Cristian Romero, Marcos Senesi, Claudio Bravo; Fausto Vera, Santiago Colombatto (Tomás Belmonte 91′); Lucas Rodríguez (Carlos Valenzuela 68′), Lucas Robertone (Nahuel Bustos 68′), Agustín Urzi (Francisco Ortega 87′); Adolfo Gaich