World Cup - Uruguay edge out Costa Rica

Wed, 18 Nov 21:55:00 2009

Uruguay completed the line up for the 2010 World Cup finals with a 2-1 aggregate win over Costa Rica.

Uruguay's Sebastian Abreu celebrates his goal against Costa Rica during a World Cup 2010 qualifying match - 0

Uruguay claimed a 1-0 win in the first leg and looked on course for a comfortable qualification when Sebastian Abreu headed them ahead 20 minutes from time.

However, Costa Rica set up a grandstand finish when Walter Centeno scored with 16 minutes left on the clock.

Costa Rica threw men forward in a frantic final 15 minutes in search of the goal that would have secured qualification, but Uruguay held on to progress to South Africa.

With the Montevideo pitch shrouded in mist and being whipped by a strong wind, the home side made a fine start and Costa Rica keeper Keilor Navas was busy in the early stages.

He had to dash off his line to smother on seven minutes, while 60 seconds later he made two stunning saves.

First he tipped a long-range drive over the top and from the following corner he positioned himself superbly to gather a header from Diego Godin.

Costa Rica were not without chances and Victor Nunez showed his quality with a curling strike that flew just wide.

Nicolas Lodeiro was a stand-out performer for Uruguay in the first half and he broke free before slipping the ball to Luis Suarez, but he did not do justice to his team-mate's work as he shot wide.

Costa Rica were content to play on the break despite knowing they had to win and Cristian Bolanos forced a fine save out of Nestor Muslera with a dipping effort from 30 yards.

Uruguay continued to dominate at the start of the second half and Sebastian Eguren missed a sitter on 52 minutes. The Villarreal midfielder rose unopposed five yards from goal but somehow planted his header wide when it looked easier to score.

Diego Forlan was a peripheral figure for an hour, but showed his quality with a low drive from 20 yards that stung the palms of Navas.

Uruguay turned to Abreu on 65 minutes and within five minutes of his appearance, he had nodded his side ahead. Andres Scotti delivered a great ball from the right and the forward showed strength to hold off his marker before heading home.

The celebrations of the 70,000 fans at the Centenaro told the story, as Uruguay put one foot in the World Cup finals.

But the joy was short lived as Centeno rifled home from the edge of the area to put the tie back in the melting pot, and the tension boiled over in the final ten minutes as the game was interrupted by what appeared a brawl on the sidelines.

Costa Rica went in search of the winner and Alvaro Saborio shot into the side netting, but Uruguay shoved the second foot through the door with a fine rearguard action.


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