A late Jonny Wilkinson penalty earned a lacklustre British and Irish Lions side a draw against Argentina in Cardiff.
The depleted Pumas had been expected to roll over, but Jose Nunez Piossek's try and Federico Todeschini's inspired boot took them to the brink of victory.
England centre Ollie Smith answered Piossek's first-half try as the Lions reached the break 16-19 down.
But the disjointed Lions had to wait until the very last kick, and rely on Wilkinson's boot, to avoid defeat.
Playing together for the first time, the fledgling Lions of 2005 struggled to gel throughout the match.
And they were punished as early as the fourth minute when Piossek darted down the right flank to touch down for the Pumas.
The Argentines, who were missing 26 of their front-line players, quickly stretched the lead to 13-0 courtesy of the unerring boot of Todeschini.
Five turnovers summed up the first quarter for the spluttering Lions, who were badly out-scrummaged and out-jumped for large periods.
Indeed, it took the hosts a full 17 minutes to open their account.
The play that led to the try, at least, was encouraging, as Wilkinson made a half break before feeding Smith, who surged under the posts with power and pace.
But the Lions were fortunate to reach half-time only three points behind thanks to three trademark Wilkinson penalties.
A succession of second-half swaps by coach Sir Clive Woodward changed the personnel but not the momentum of the match and mistakes continued to mar the Lions play as they drove forward with increasing urgency.
And when Gordon D'Arcy spilled the ball deep in stoppage time, the Pumas looked set for an historic win.
But Wilkinson duly stepped up to spare the Lions' blushes with a difficult kick from the left touchline after a late Argentine indiscretion.
The moral victory, though, was with Argentina, leaving Woodward with plenty to ponder as his team prepare to fly out to New Zealand on Wednesday.
Lions: G Murphy; D Hickie, O Smith, G D'Arcy, S Williams; J Wilkinson, G Cooper; G Rowntree, S Byrne, J Hayes; D O'Callaghan, D Grewcock; M Corry, L Moody, M Owen (capt).
Replacements: S Thompson, J White, B Kay, L Dallaglio, C Cusiter, R O'Gara, S Horgan.
Argentina: B Stortoni; J Nunez Piossek, L Arbizu, F Contepomi (capt), F Leonelli; F Todeschini, N Fernandez Miranda; F Mendez, M Ledesma, M Reggiardo, P Bouza, M Sambucetti, F Genoud, M Schusterman, J-M Leguizamon.
Replacements: E Guinazu, L de Chazal, M Carizza, S Sanz, F Bosch, L Borges, L Lopez Fleming
Referee: S Dickinson (Australia)