CONMEBOL rivals Brazil and Argentina settled for a draw in Friday's World Cup qualifier.

JUAN MABROMATA AFP

Argentina enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges against Brazil but could not sustain their early form, and were pegged back after the break to tie 1-1 in their World Cup qualifying clash.

The home side went straight on the attack, and after several near-misses took the lead when Ezequiel Lavezzi turned in following an excellent team move.

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But Brazil were galvanised by the entry of Douglas Costa, and Lucas Lima turned in the equaliser after the Bayern Munich winger struck the bar with a header.

David Luiz was shown a red card for two bookable offences within the space of two minutes late in the second half, the second for a dangerous two-footed challenge.

In their first competitive meeting in six years, it was Argentina -- without star Lionel Messi due to injury -- who started the brighter of the sides with two decent opportunities within the opening five minutes.

Facundo Roncaglia was the first to test the palms of Alisson with his mishit cross almost catching the Brazil goalkeeper unaware.

The shot-stopper parried the effort back down into the box but Gonzalo Higuain failed to convert.Angel di Maria then skipped past David Luiz down the right of the area before darting a low strike across goal.

Argentina remained in control midway through the first half in Buenos Aires, with Ever Banega striking over from long range and the impressive Roncaglia testing Alisson's handling.

With 33 minutes played, Lavezzi deservedly put the hosts in front.

Di Maria displayed fine technique on the halfway line to find space before feeding Higuain on the edge of the box with an accurate through ball.

The Napoli striker immediately played a low central pass into the area to the incoming Lavezzi to side-foot past Alisson.

Brazil's only chance of note came soon after from a set-piece, as David Luiz headed just over the crossbar following a deep free-kick into the box.

Argentina's dominance continued after the break as Banega had his shot blocked before hitting the foot of the post at a second attempt.

Neymar -- who had been kept quiet throughout the first 45 minutes -- was struggling to replicate his sensational domestic form.

However, with an hour played, Brazil somehow drew level.

Dani Alves' floated pass to the back post was met by substitute Douglas Costa, who crashed his header against the crossbar.

But Lucas Lima was on hand to thump the rebounded ball on the half-volley past Sergio Romero.

Brazil's equaliser opened up the game and Higuain and Neymar went close to finding the decisive goal of the game late on but both were denied.

With seconds remaining in normal time, David Luiz was given his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card in two minutes for a late lunge.

Argentina are now winless in three games and remain in eighth place in the table, while Brazil move up to fifth.