Colombia held Brazil to a 0-0 draw in an engrossing game at home on Sunday, ending Brazil’s nine-match winning run in the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup while Argentina outplayed Uruguay 3-0.
Brazil had never lost to Colombia in 12 previous World Cup qualifiers but Colombia came into the game unbeaten in six qualifiers under coach Reinaldo Rueda, their longest such run since 2008.
That form book played out in the Caribbean heat with both teams playing an open game but neither creating many goalmouth chances, particularly in a stunted first hour.
The gave came alive in the last 30 minutes as both teams pushed for a winner, forcing both goalkeepers to make excellent saves to keep the game scoreless.
The results leave Brazil on 28 points, six ahead of Argentina. Colombia are in fifth on 15 points.
The top four teams qualify automatically for Qatar and the fifth-placed side go into an inter-regional playoff.
Brazil are still unbeaten after 10 qualifiers but their short passes in and around the box were met with a resolute Colombian defence, especially in the first half in front of a passionate crowd in Barranquilla.
After an uneventful first 45 minutes the game burst into life as the second half went on.
Brazil's Alisson was the busier of the two keepers, thwarting long-range efforts from Mateus Uribe and Juan Fernando Quintero, while at the other end, substitutes Antony and Raphinha breathed life into the Brazilian attack and forced vital saves from David Ospina.
Easy for Argentina
Two goals in the minutes before half-time, one of them an unusually fortunate counter from Lionel Messi, helped Argentina on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win over Uruguay. Eight minutes before the break Messi floated a 35-meter pass into the area but it was missed by both advancing striker Nicolas Gonzalez and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and somehow sneaked into the net.
Six minutes later Lautaro Martinez swung and missed at a chance on the edge of the box but the loose ball fell into the path of Rodrigo De Paul who made no mistake. Martinez made up for the miss when he converted a low cross from De Paul 17 minutes into the second half.
At the bottom of the table, the two teams that started the day in last and second last both won, with Venezuela beating Ecuador 2-1 and Bolivia overcoming Peru by a single goal.
Bolivia's victory, only their second of the qualifiers, came thanks to a late goal by Ramiro Vaca in La Paz.
Vaca scored with eight minutes remaining just minutes after the home side were reduced to 10 men following the sending off of Henry Vaca.
Venezuela also recorded their second win thanks to goals from Darwin Machis and Eduardo Bello.
Opponents Ecuador started the day in third place in the 10-team table and took the lead with an Enner Valencia penalty after 37 minutes.
However, Venezuela fought back to move on to seven points.