Uruguay returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over South American champions Chile in a fiercely contested World Cup qualifier in Montevideo on Tuesday.
Tempers were running high in the first meeting between the two nations since the infamous coming together of Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Jara in Chile’s quarter-final win at the Copa America in June.
Cavani was controversially sent off for a raised hand to Jara’s face after the Chile defender appeared to poke the Uruguay forward in the backside with a finger, which went unnoticed by match officials.
Uruguay, who felt aggrieved afterwards, had the last laugh thanks to Diego Godin and a quick-fire second-half double, ending Chile’s unbeaten start to World Cup qualifying.
Godin set the Uruguayans on their way with a 23rd-minute opener – his third goal in qualifying – before substitute Alvaro Pereira and Martin Caceres helped the team bounce back from their 2-1 loss in Ecuador last week.
Making matters worse for the visitors, midfielder Jorge Valdivia was shown a straight red card after the final whistle for apparently verbally abusing the referee.
Uruguay made two changes to the team that went down to Ecuador, with Matias Corujo and Diego Rolan coming in for Alvaro Gonzalez and Abel Hernandez.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli also opted to mix it up, drafting in Marcelo Diaz, Mark Gonzalez and Eugenio Mena at the expense of Matias Fernandez, Jean Beausejour and Francisco Silva.
The Chileans started the brighter of the two teams, Arturo Vidal coming close to breaking the deadlock 10 minutes in after almost stabbing in the opener at the near post following Mauricio Isla’s sliding ball across the six-yard box.
Emotions threatened to boil over as the half wore on, with Cavani and Jara at it again as both teams came together after Uruguay were awarded a free-kick.
Godin was clearly aggrieved by Chile’s treatment of team-mate Cavani and it sparked the skipper into action, the Atletico Madrid star on hand to poke home the close-range opener from the resulting set-piece in the 23rd minute.
Tempers did eventually simmer down in the second half, after Uruguay and Chile squared off again when the referee whistled for half-time.
Chile pushed forward in search of an equaliser but they were continuously met by a wall of Uruguay defenders, Sebastian Coates on hand to cut out Isla’s low cross to deny the visitors a goalscoring opportunity 10 minutes into the second half.
At the other end, Pereira had barely been on the pitch for a minute when he headed Uruguay into a 2-0 lead in the 61st minute.
Pereira, who replaced Nicolas Lodeiro, rose highest to loop the ball over Claudio Bravo after Cavani’s header had picked out the second-half substitute.
And defender Caceres made sure of the points with a header of his own from a corner kick four minutes later.