DORTMUND, Germany – An Argentina side without Lionel Messi – serving an international suspension – conceded two goals before coming back to draw 2-2 with Germany on Wednesday in a friendly.
Fielding what coach Joachim Löw acknowledged was an “emergency squad” amid injuries to a dozen players, Germany dominated in the first half at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.
Julian Brandt created a chance on the counter in the 13th minute, but Argentina keeper Agustin Marchesin kicked the shot away.
Two minutes later, however, a defensive breakdown forced Marchesin to come off his line and Serge Gnabry put the ball past him to give Germany the 1-0 lead.
Kai Havertz made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute, nudging a Gnabry pass across the goal-line after Argentina gave away the ball while trying to play out from the back.
The visitors began to see more of the ball after falling behind and each side had shots hit the post before the half-time whistle.
Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni started the second half with a pair of substitutions: replacing Marcos Rojo with Marcos Acuña and swapping out Angel Correa for Lucas Ocampos.
But the first scoring opportunity after the re-start went to Germany’s Emre Can, who forces a great save from Marchesin in the 54th minute.
Argentina’s comeback began in the 66th minute with a goal by Lucas Alario, who headed-in Acuña’s cross five minutes after coming on in place of Paulo Dybala.
The goal energized the South Americans, while Germany all but collapsed, and Ocampos got the equalizer in the 85th minute with a massive assist from Alario.
Scaloni had to be satisfied with the result, given the absence of Messi, who is serving a three-month international suspension imposed by the South American Soccer Confederation after the FC Barcelona superstar criticized the organization during the Copa America tournament in Brazil.
The Argentine coach also decided against calling up players from Boca Juniors and River Plate – Argentina’s two top clubs – as those squads are preparing for an Oct. 22 Copa Libertadores semifinal clash.
Löw faced a much stiffer challenge in putting together a starting 11 with Leroy Sane, Antonio Rüdiger, Leon Goretzka, Kevin Trapp, Nico Schulz, Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer, Toni Kroos, Jonas Hector, Matthias Ginter, Jonathan Tah and Ilkay Gündogan on the injured list for Germany.
Both teams will be in action again on Sunday, when Argentina is set for a friendly with Ecuador and Germany faces a Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia.