Substitute Sergio Aguero earned Argentina a point against Bolivia with a stunning strike in the second half to prevent a shock in the first game of the Copa America
Argentina escaped the jaws of defeat and had to scramble to earn a 1-1 draw against Bolivia in Group A in the opening game of the 2011 Copa America.
The Bolivians took a shock lead at the start of the second half thanks to a cheeky goal by Edivaldo Rojas, but substitute Sergio Aguero fired home a cracking volley 15 minutes from time.
Two years and three months after falling to Bolivia 6-1 in a World Cup Qualifier, the host nation could not down their neighbours to the north on a frigid night in La Plata.
Argentina started the game with the majority of the possession, looking to go right at the Bolivia defence. For the first 30 minutes, both teams were plagued offensively by numerous fouls in the centre of the field.
Sergio Batista's men were the better side in the early going, playing through Ever Banega up the middle, who found Lionel Messi several times to start the attack.
Looking to play through Carlos Tevez on the left as well, the home side could not break through the last line of the defence to test goalkeeper Carlos Arias. Ezequiel Lavezzi and Tevez both had a couple chances from acute angles inside the box, but could not convert their chances.
The 15 remaining minutes of the opening half passed with the Argentines showing their frustration at the 0-0 stalemate. Bolivia remained poised for the first 45 minutes, as they avoided making glaring mistakes.
Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Mascherano and Banega, all of whom were struggling creatively, forced Messi to return to midfield to look for the ball as failure in the connection between the midfielders and forwards hurt the host nation in the opening half.
Angel Di Maria came on at the beginning of the second half for Cambiasso as Batista opted for more quickness in attack. But despite the positive change, it was Bolivia who took a sensational lead.
Off a corner kick by Jhasmani Campos, Rojas flicked the ball cleverly to the front post off his heel, surprising Banega, who allowed it to slip by him from centimetres out as Gustavo Quinteros' side went ahead.
As the Bolivians celebrated on the sideline, the breath seemed to be taken out of the fans of the home side filled into the Estadio Unico.
With their backs against the wall, the frustration began to build. Lavezzi drilled two shots into the stands, while Di Maria's pace and ability to embarrass defenders was absent.
With 25 minutes to go, Marcelo Martins had a chance to put Bolivia up 2-0 as he went one-on-one against Sergio Romero. The AZ goalkeeper stretched his arm out as he dove to the ground to stop Martins to the left of goal, getting a touch on the ball and making another save right after to keep Argentina in the game.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Aguero levelled the score with a stunning volley after Nicolas Burdisso had chested down Di Maria's cross.
Argentina continued to press for the winning goal, but had to settle for a draw as underdogs Bolivia stole a precious point in the opening game.
Next up, Argentina will face Colombia in Santa Fe on Thursday. Later that day, Bolivia will face Costa Rica in Jujuy.