La Paz, Nov 17 (IANS) Juan Arce scored two goals and set up another as Bolivia kept alive their hopes of qualifying for their first FIFA World Cup in almost 30 years with a 3-0 home victory over Uruguay here.
Arce opened the scoring in the rarefied air of La Paz, situated 3,600 meters above sea level, with a long-range effort that curled past teammate Marcelo Moreno before slipping through the gloves of goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and rebounding in off the far post.
Moreno doubled the lead with a towering header following Arce’s corner on the stroke of halftime. The former Wigan and Werder Bremen forward sent a penalty attempt sailing over the bar after Giovanni Gonzalez brought down Carmelo Algaranaz on the hour mark.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Algaranaz was shown a straight red card for a bad tackle on Diego Godin in the 74th minute, Xinhua reports. Bolivia continued to press, however, and they were rewarded for their efforts when Arce headed home with 11 minutes remaining after Fernando Saucedo’s cross.
The result leaves La Verde with 15 points from 14 matches while Uruguay have 16 points. Bolivia are aiming to qualify for just their fourth World Cup and their first since 1994. Two-time World Cup winners Uruguay have now lost four consecutive matches and are in danger of missing out on their first World Cup since 2006.
The top four teams in the South American group will automatically qualify for football’s showpiece tournament in Qatar next year while the fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff.