Uruguay trail leaders Chile by one point in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying standings after a 4-2 win over Peru on Sunday.
But the Uruguayans did not have things all their own way in the gripping qualifier in Montevideo, fighting off a brave Peru side who battled back into the match.
Having dropped points in last week’s draw against Venezuela, the Copa America holders wasted no time in taking the lead when Luis Suarez scored after 14 minutes.
Maxi Pereira made it 2-0, bundling home from short range, before Diego Godin’s own goal sent the teams into half-time at 2-1.
Deprived of Claudio Pizarro, Juan Manuel Vargas and Jefferson Farfan, the Peruvians nevertheless threw everything into attack and were rewarded when Paolo Guerrero converted the equaliser minutes after the restart.
An astonishing save from Diego Penny then denied Diego Forlan from the penalty spot, but Uruguay continued to look dangerous and finally took the points with late strikes from Cristian Rodriguez and Sebastian Eguren.
The win means Oscar Tabarez’s men leapfrog Argentina into second and trail leaders Chile by one point, with a game in hand.
Peru are bottom of the table thanks to Bolivia’s 3-1 win over Paraguay.
Meanwhile, in Quito, Christian Benitez’s 64th-minute strike earned Ecuador a 1-0 win over a Colombia side which failed to create any real opportunities throughout the 90 minutes.
But Ecuador’s joy was soured five minutes from time when Cristian Noboa was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle from behind on Atletico Madrid’s front man Falcao.
Ecuador are fourth in the table while Colombia coach Jose Pekerman lost his first competitive match and his side dropped to sixth.
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