Colombia was able to walk away with one point from their World Cup qualifier in and against Argentina, which kept its star striker, Lionel Messi, off the field for 60 minutes.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men midway through the first half when Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain and Colombia central defender Cristian Zapata were shown the red card for kicking out at each other.
Argentina lead the South American group with 25 points, with Colombia second on 20. Ecuador, who also have 20 points, play Peru in Lima later on Friday.
“It got complicated (with the red cards), I don’t think they should have been sent off,” said Argentina’s Angel Di Maria, who had a fine game prompting Argentina attacks.
“We didn’t want to draw, we wanted to win but were left with only one striker,” he told Fox Sports.
Colombia center back Mario Yepes said: “(The result) is good for us, we keep adding (points).”
Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina made three crucial saves and the match featured a string of close misses.
Striker Jackson Martinez put the ball in the Argentine net from James Rodriguez’s cross in the 20th minute but it was ruled offside, and Sergio Agiuero had the ball in the Colombian net twice in the second half but was denied both times by offside decisions, the second of which was a hairline decision against Messi.
Ospina saved at the feet of Higuain in the eighth minute and Colombia striker Radamel Falcao headed wide from right back Camilo Zuniga’s cross in the 12th.
Four minutes later, a poor clearance in the Colombia box had Higuain heading point blank at goal with Ospina parrying the ball and defender Federico Fernandez heading the rebound against the bar in Argentina’s best chance.
Messi, having resumed training on Tuesday after three weeks recovering from a hamstring injury, came on in the 57th and immediately wrought havoc in the Colombia box with Ospina sticking out a hand to avoid a defender’s own goal.
“I’m not fit. Today I was able to play a bit but I didn’t know how my leg would respond,” Messi told reporters.
“Ospina was the man of the match,” he added.