Uruguay 2 Cavani 77', Stuani 81'
After struggling mightily over the past two years to rediscover the kind of form that made them darlings of the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Copa America, it was perhaps unsurprising Uruguay continued to struggle in the first half against Colombia. Despite that Uruguay were playing at home, it was the visitors who quickly set up shop in the attacking third, forcing the hosts to play on the counter. And even then, Uruguay's passing often lacked sharpness and usually it usually ended with the ball handed straight back to Colombia whenever the hosts managed to break.
The first really good chance of the game didn't arrive until after the 25th minute, when a quickly taken free kick sent Falcao down the channel. The Uruguayan defence recovered in time to keep the Colombian on the outside but were still lucky to to see the star striker's blast towards the near side skim just wide of the post. Luis Suarez had his own chance to make an impact five minutes later when Mario Yepes badly mistimed an interception attempt and allowed Suarez on goal, but a half dozen step-overs and cut-backs later Suarez was tripping over his own feet as the attack fell apart.
Oscar Tabarez brought on Walter Gargano and Christian Stuani for Nicolas Lodeiro and Alvaro Gonzalez to start the second half, and whether it was the new arrivals or something the manager had said during the break, the hosts appeared far more determined. Immediately off the restart, Uruguay drove down the pitch, seeking to pin Colombia deep. It nearly paid off when Edinson Cavani controlled a difficult pass, turned, and fired a hard shot off the crossbar. Just past the 60th minute, Cavani knocked down for Suarez on the edge of the area and Suarez blasted just wide.
If not quite Uruguay at their best, it was at least something far closer to what was on display at their peak under Tabarez in 2010 and 2011. It finally paid off in the 77th minute when Cavani redirected an early cross past a diving David Ospina. Colombia had increasingly sat back, content to see out the draw and take the point that would have confirmed their place in Brazil. Following the goal, and with the home crowd firmly behind them, Uruguay forced their advantage—and with Colombia back on their heels, Christian Stuani made it 2-0 in the 81st minute.
Making things even better for Uruguay was news that Ecuador dropped points to Bolivia earlier in the day, leaving the two countries level in fourth and setting up a massive match on October 11th when Ecuador host Uruguay in a game that could decide who finishes fourth.
To take a look back at Denmark and Daniel Agger's crucial victory over Armenia early on Tuesday, go here. A recap of the evening's action involving Slovakia and England can be found here.