Falcao stays hot as Colombia put Uruguay to sword

Colombia's Radamel Falcao celebrates after scoring against Uruguay during their World Cup's 2014 qualifying soccer match in Barranquilla September 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia (Reuters) - Red-hot Radamel Falcao struck early and striker partner Teofilo Gutierrez scored twice as Colombia romped to a 4-0 home win over Uruguay to put their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track on Friday.

The Colombians, playing at their favourite home ground, the Metropolitano in hot Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast, have 10 points from six matches in the South American group.

Uruguay, who fell to their first defeat in six qualifiers, have 11 points, one less than leaders Chile and one more than Argentina before Lionel Messi’s side’s home clash with Paraguay in Cordoba.

Colombia stunned the Uruguayans by taking the lead after two minutes when Falcao, Atletico Madrid’s European Super Cup hat-trick scorer, leapt between two defenders to head home Camilo Zuniga’s right cross.

Uruguay were on the back foot for long spells and struggled to control Falcao while Gutierrez was caught in the offside trap several times in the first half.

Not so in the second half as, with Uruguay midfielder Alvaro Gonzalez replacing defender Mauricio Victorino at the break, Colombia put the game out of their reach with Gutierrez’s goals in the opening seven minutes of the second half.

Gutierrez raced on to a through ball from midfielder James Rodriguez to shoot past goalkeeper Fernando Mulsera in the 47th minute and he added his second five minutes later from close range from Rodriguez’s cross.

Muslera prevented a bigger rout with good saves from Rodriguez, Macnelly Torres and Darwin Quintero but was well beaten by defender Zuniga for Colombia’s fourth in stoppage time.

Writing by Rex Gowar in Cordoba, Argentina, editing by Ed Osmond