Otamendi’s late strike — turning in an Angel Di Maria corner — completed a gutsy fightback from the Argentines, who had trailed 2-0 shortly after half-time following Venezuelan goals from Malaga’s Juanpi Anor and Torino’s Josef Martinez.
Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza praised his side’s courage after fighting back from 2-0.
“We wanted to win but we found ourselves losing 2-0,” Bauza said. “I take comfort from the way that the players responded when they conceded those two goals,” he added.
But while Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina were left heading the table, Chile were still struggling for answers after a 0-0 draw with Bolivia in Santiago.
The Chileans have been the form team in South America over the past two years, winning the 2015 Copa America and this year’s Centenary edition in the United States.
Yet their stalemate with Bolivia leaves them seventh overall with 11 points from eight game.
Ecuador meanwhile, the early pace-setters in qualifying with four wins in their opening four games, have slipped to fifth place after a 2-1 defeat in Lima against Peru.