A first half goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi was cancelled out by Lucas Lima in the second period as Brazil escaped with a 1-1 draw against Argentina in Friday's South American World Cup qualifying match.

The match had originally been scheduled for Thursday but torrential rain in the Argentine capital had forced officials to postpone the game for 24 hours.

Argentina dominated the first half but although Brazil perked up when Douglas Costa replaced Ricardo Oliveira in the second half they would consider themselves lucky to secure a point.

"A draw against Argentina is a good result away from home," Brazil's second half substitute Renato Augusto told reporters.

The home side were without strikers Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, but still had the depth to start the game with Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Lavezzi up front.

Their first chance came in the second minute but Higuain could not turn quickly enough to get a shot in after goalkeeper Alisson flapped at a cross.

Two minutes later Brazil were fortunate that no one was on hand to get a touch on Di Maria's shot that flashed across the face of the goal.

Argentina continued to cause Brazil trouble on both flanks and they finally got the goal they deserved in the 34th minute when Lavezzi stole in between a hesitant David Luiz and Dani Alves to sidefoot home from six yards following a Higuain cross.

Ever Banega almost doubled Argentina's lead in the second minute of the second half when he slammed a shot off the base of the post after Dani Alves had blocked his first effort.

But it was Brazil that got the important second goal with 58 minutes gone when substitute Douglas Costa's header came back off the bar and Lucas Lima hammered home the rebound.

The goal boosted Brazil and they enjoyed their best period in the moments after. However, Argentina took charge again as the game wore on and Higuain was unlucky not to get on the end of a cross and make it 2-1.

Brazil had Neymar back after a four-game suspension but the Barcelona striker was largely anonymous and his threat was limited to a couple of long-range shots.

David Luiz was sent off with two minutes remaining for a brutal tackle on Lucas Biglia with his foot up.

The result leaves Argentina in eighth place in the 10-team South American group with just two points after having failed to win any of their first three games. Brazil rise to fifth with one win, one draw and one loss.

The top four teams qualify automatically and the fifth placed-side go into a play-off.

Argentina now go to Barranquilla to play Colombia on Tuesday, while Brazil have an easier task at home against Peru.