RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Peru's Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizarro missed a first-half penalty on Tuesday as Argentina held on for a barely deserved 1-1 draw in their World Cup qualifier in Lima.
Carlos Zambrano made up for Pizarro's early miss with a 21st-minute strike before Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain equalized for Argentina after Ezequiel Lavezzi's cross.
Peru had the best of the second-half chances and managed to nullify the effect of Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who was marked out of the match.
"The fight we showed to get back into the match was great," Argentina's Javier Mascherano said.
"It's difficult to come here and win as the visiting team and that's why I think this point is going to be important later on."
In other South American qualifiers on Tuesday, Colombia defeated Chile 3-1 away, Uruguay drew 1-1 at home to Ecuador while Venezuela shocked hosts Paraguay 2-0.
Argentina leads the South American confederation's Conmebol standings with 14 points from seven games, a point ahead of second-placed Colombia. Ecuador and Uruguay are third and fourth respectively.
The top four teams will automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil while fifth will play off for a berth against the fifth-ranked team from Asia.