Uruguay beats Costa Rica 1-0 in World Cup playoff

Nov 15, 2009 - 4:17 AM SAN JOSE, Costa Rica(AP) -- Diego Lugano scored in the 23nd minute, and Uruguay defeated Costa Rica 1-0 Saturday night in the first leg of their home-and-home playoff for a berth in next year's World Cup.

The second leg of the total-goals matchup will be Wednesday in Montevideo.

Costa Rica, which has appeared in the last two World Cups, finished a man short after Randall Azofeifa received his second yellow card in the 52nd minute.

The Ticos were about 20 seconds from qualifying last month when they allowed Jonathan Bornstein's goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time, giving the United States a 2-2 tie at Washington, D.C. That gave Honduras the third and final automatic berth from North and Central America and the Caribbean, dropping Costa Rica into fourth place.

Uruguay finished fifth in South American qualifying. It advanced to the 2002 World Cup by winning a playoff against Australia, then lost a playoff to the Australians for a berth for the 2006 tournament.

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