A Diego Forlan brace helped ensure Uruguay beat a disappointing South Africa 3-0, as they moved to the summit of Group A.
The Atletico Madrid forward’s first goal had a slice of luck attached to it, as it deflected of Aaron Mokoena. But his penalty late on was impressive, especially as he had to wait nearly five minutes to take it.
Alvaro Fernandez wrapped up the win with virtually the last kick of the game, with his side now topping the group with four points.
Uruguay had the first real opportunity of the game after Luis Alberto Suarez was felled just outside the penalty area. Diego Forlan, however, hit the set-piece straight into the wall.
Uruguay continued with their early pressure, and Forlan and Suarez linked up well to create a half chance, but the angle was too tight for the latter to test the goalkeeper.
Uruguay started the match more positively than the hosts, and you could see they had far more urgency about their play than they did in the opening match against France.
Possession was good, but they did not create too many chances in the opening ten to fifteen minutes.
South Africa’s Siphiwe Tshabalala’s strike from 30 yards went well over after 13 minutes, and then just two minutes later he found himself in a better position, but choose to shoot instead of setting up Steven Pienaar.
Despite the wasted opportunity, South Africa finally imposed themselves on the game, and then just before the 20 minute mark, Tshabalala’s dangerous free-kick caused some concern amongst the Uruguay defence.
The first shot on target, though, did not come until a quarter of the match had been played. And it was Suarez who hit a decent strike, but was comfortably saved by Itumeleng Khune.
And then just a minute later, Forlan opened the scoring to put Uruguay into the lead.
A speculative shot from 25 yards was deflected by Mokoena to loop over Khune, before hitting the inside of the bar and into the net.
It was unlucky for South Africa, but they allowed Forlan the time and space to shoot, and it was probably deserved as the South Americans had started the better.
Suarez then found himself in a great position in the penalty area, but the angle was always against him, and maybe a pass would have been the better option, instead of striking the ball into the side netting.
South Africa’s lone striker Katlego Mphela connected with a cross late on in the half, but his header went well wide.
Uruguay were dominant and looked confident on the ball. Forlan was finding himself in a lot of space behind the strikers, and the South African’s were unsure how to handle his movement. The hosts, apart from Tshabalala’s dangerous left foot, did not offer anything, but this was more to do with a lack of genuine quality than anything wrong with their work ethic.
Uruguay began the second half in much the same fashion as the first. Suarez set up Edinson Cavani, but the forward was unable to get a clean strike as the shot drifted past the post.
Uruguay could have then had a penalty after 50 minutes. Forlan played Suarez down the right hand touchline. Some good skill by the Ajax striker gave him some space just inside the area, but appeared to be fouled just as he had got clear.
The referee, however, felt there was not enough contact for Suarez to go down.
Diego Lugano then had a free header from an excellent Forlan free-kick, but the Uruguay captain made awful contact as South Africa cleared the danger.
Uruguay, at this stage, were completely dominating proceedings and should have made the game safe long before they did.
Maxi Pereira then found himself with a good shooting chance after some good skill, but Suarez was in a better position as the ball went high and wide.
With all the possession and chances Uruguay had, the fact that the deficit was only one goal after the hour mark was a massive surprise.
South Africa then created their best chance of the match after 66 minutes when Mphela connected with a cross just yards out. Despite Fernando Muslera making a vital save with his fingertips, the referee gave a goal kick.
Teko Modise then tested Muslera, as the hosts really started to threaten for the first time in the match.
Possession was at their highest level for the match, but the final ball and that extra bit of quality always appeared to be lacking.
And it would get worse for them as Uruguay won a penalty through Suarez, after the ball broke kindly to him.
He rounded Khune, who brought him down with his trailing leg and, as a result, the goalkeeper was sent-off much to he and his team’s distraught.
After a long delay, Moeneeb Josephs replaced Pieenar to take the place of Khune, but he was unable to prevent the cool Forlan expertly converting from the spot to make it two-nil for Uruguay.
It was a brilliant penalty from a wonderful footballer, and it finally killed the game off.
South Africa, through Siboniso Gaxa, then had a penalty claim of their own, but it would have been soft, and he was always looking for it.
However, they were unable to offer anything in an attacking aspect which may have suggested an incredible comeback was on.
And it was three deep inside injury time through Alvaro Fernandez.
Forlan was involved again, but it was Suarez who put a delightful cross in to set-up Fernandez, and he only needed to make slight contact for the ball to cross the line.
As the fans flooded out of the stadium, South Africa’s World Cup dream was all-but over. Uruguay, on the other hand, have one foot in the knock-out round.
South Africa: Khune, Gaxa, Masilela, Mokoena, Khumalo, Tshabalala, Pienaar (Josephs, 79), Modise, Letsholonyane, (Moriri, 57) Dikgacoi, Mphela.
Uruguay: Muslera, Lugano, Godin, Fucile (A Fernandez , 71), A. Pereira, M. Pereira, Perez (Gargano, 90), Rios, Cavani (S Fernandez, 89), Suarez, Forlan.