Argentina were outplayed for much of the game and had Diego Simeone sent off for kicking the ball at a grounded Colombian player - their fourth red card in three qualifiers.
Ivan Valenciano and Adolfo Valencia scored for Colombia while Ramon Bello hit a late consolation for Argentina, who face an arduous play-off against Australia for a place in the finals if they fail to dislodge the Colombians, leaders by one point, from first place. In the group's other game, Paraguay's goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert scored a penalty but gave away another as his team beat Peru 2-1.
In Group B, Bolivia maintained their unexpected 100 per cent record with a 1-0 home win over Ecuador. They are four points clear of Ecuador, Brazil and Uruguay: the top two qualify for the finals.
Brazil were denied victory in Uruguay when Daniel Fonseca struck a late equaliser to cancel out Rai's first- half opener. The Brazilians, who have all their home games left to play, outclassed a dispirited home side but missed several good chances and then had the defender Ricardo Rocha sent off shortly before Fonseca's goal. Brazil entertain second-placed Ecuador on Sunday.Reuse content