Uruguay edge Colombia to stay perfect in World Cup qualifying
Captain Diego Godin led the way again as Uruguay made it two wins from as many World Cup qualifiers with a 3-0 victory over Colombia.
Godin was on target last week as Uruguay kicked off the CONMEBOL qualifiers in perfect fashion, beating Bolivia 2-0 away from home. The commanding centerback scored Uruguay’s second against the Bolivians and he was at it again in Montevideo on Tuesday.
Godin headed powerfully past Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina in the 34th minute and striker Diego Rolan doubled the lead six minutes into the second half. Second-half substitute Abel Hernandez sealed the points two minutes from time as Uruguay, which made it nine games unbeaten in World Cup qualifiers at home, preserved its perfect record.
Making matters worse for Colombia, Juan Cuadrado saw red in additional time for an elbow on Rolan. Uruguay made two changes to the team that overcame Bolivia, Maxi Pereira and Rolan coming in for Cristian Rodriguez and Hernandez respectively. Jose Pekerman kept faith with the 11 Colombia players that saw off Peru 2-0.
The fixture started relatively tentatively as both teams settled into their rhythm at Estadio Centenario, where Teo Gutierrez and Carlos Bacca were preferred to Jackson Martinez and Radamel Falcao. Uruguay, though, was dealt a blow just 16 minutes in, when Martin Caceres — the goal-scoring hero from the opening match — was forced from the pitch after appearing to twist his ankle in a collision with Juventus teammate Cuadrado. He was replaced by Nicolas Lodeiro.
Uruguay slowly asserted its dominance on proceedings and Godin came close to breaking the deadlock with a towering header that flashed wide of the post. After his initial warning shot, Godin sent a bullet header past Ospina as Uruguay took a 34th-minute lead.
Carlos Sanchez whipped in a corner and Godin met the set piece powerfully, leaving Ospina helpless. The Uruguayans almost made it 2-0 moments later but Rolan failed to connect with Alvaro Pereira’s cross, while Ospina was on hand to thwart Christian Stuani from inside the 6-yard box before halftime.
Uruguay continued where it left off after the break, Rolan doubling the home team’s lead in the 51st minute. A ball into the penalty area from Lodeiro eluded two Colombia defenders and picked out Rolan, who scooped the ball over Ospina.
Colombia barely offered a threat in the attacking third, but was denied by the crossbar after Bacca’s looping header clipped the woodwork approaching the hour mark. The Colombians pressed forward during the remaining 15 minutes in search of a way back into the contest but even the introduction of Falcao offered no reward as Rolan put the icing on the cake with a powerful strike into the roof of the net from an acute angle.