Amman - Uruguay are almost assured of their place in next year's World Cup
finals in Brazil after battering Jordan 5-0 in their intercontinental
playoff first leg on Wednesday.
The South American giants, sixth
in the FIFA rankings, overcame a few tense minutes at the start of the
game at the packed Amman International Stadium to seal an emphatic
victory against the 70th ranked Jordanians who failed to live up to the
hype and expectation generated in their own country.
defender Maxi Pereira put the South Americans ahead in the 22nd minute
with a simple tap-in after an Edinson Cavani header was parried by
Jordanian goalkeeper Abdulla al-Zubi.
The two-time world champions
consolidated their lead through Espanyol striker Christian Stuani who
sneaked the ball under al-Zubi after brilliant dummy by Cavani in the
The tall Paris St. Germain star ducked under a
throw-in to allow the ball to reach Nicolas Lodeiro and the Botafogo
midfielder clipped the ball to Stuani who beat al-Zubi with an easy shot
from close range.
Jordan's Egyptian coach Hossam Hassan had
invoked Arab pride in his rallying cry before the match, saying his team
carried the hopes of the entire Arab world, but the Uruguayans, with
several of their stars playing in the European leagues, simply proved
too good on the day.
The Jordanians, however, had one clear chance
but Ibrahim al-Zawareh inexplicably fired wide from close range after
Shareef Adnan had done all the hard work on the right early in the
Thereafter it was Uruguay all the way, Lodeiro
scoring the third goal in the 69th minute after poor defending by the
Jordanians allowed Cavani to get behind the back four.
Rodriguez got on the scoresheet in the 76th minute with a half-volley
from close range and Cavani, easily the star of the match, finished off
the game with a brilliant free-kick from outside the penalty area in