Argentina managed a 1-1 draw against Ecuador on Tuesday in the thin air of Quito to remain on top of South America's World Cup qualifying standings.
Sergio Aguero opened the scoring with a penalty in the fourth minute for Argentina, but Segundo Castillo equalized with a header in the 17th. Lionel Messi came on as a substitute in the 60th minute. The Barcelona star has an injured right hamstring and missed the final three weeks of the Spanish league season.
Argentina improved to 27 points from 14 matches and has traditionally had problems playing in high altitude at Quito, which is located at 2,800 meters (9,350 feet) in the Andes.
Colombia maintained second place in the group with 26 points from 13 games following a 2-0 victory against Peru.
Radamel Falcao and Teofilio Gutierrez scored for Colombia in the coastal city of Barranquilla. Falcao converted a penalty in the 13th minute and Gutierrez scored in first-half stoppage time.
The top four teams in the group advance automatically to the World Cup next year in Brazil, with the fifth-place team going into an intercontinental playoff for another spot.
Brazil qualifies automatically as the host nation.
Ecuador is in third with 22 points after 13 matches.
In two late matches, Venezuela were playing Uruguay and Chile were against Bolivia. Chile, Venezuela and Uruguay are in the running for spots in Brazil. Venezuela are the only member of the South American confederation that has never reached the World Cup finals.