MONTEVIDEO • Uruguay continued their blistering form at home by making it six wins out of six to stay firmly on Brazil's shoulders, after a 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Ecuador at Montevideo's Estadio Centenario.
The Uruguayans took the lead on 12 minutes when former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates bundled in a corner from close range for his first international goal.
Espanyol striker Felipe Caicedo then rounded off a sweeping Ecuador counter-attack to equalise just before half-time.
But Uruguay responded immediately, Diego Rolan stabbing home a low finish on the stroke of half-time to restore the lead and win it for the home side.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was not happy with his team's performance but was glad that he had three points in the bag.
"It was a tough match. Ecuador had the ball but we found solutions," he said after watching the visitors enjoy 63 per cent of possession. "The qualifiers are to get points, not to play well, and we are very happy about our position in the standings."
Uruguay are second in the South American table after 11 games and are on 23 points, one behind Brazil. Ecuador are fourth on 17, ahead of Chile only on goal difference.
Ecuador coach Gustavo Quinteros attributed his team's defeat to his players' lack of concentration.
"If we were more concentrated on the game, we could have taken a favourable result from Uruguay," he said.
"In the second half, we had some errors of precision. Uruguay are a team who do not forgive and they take advantage of situations.
"Our team lose the ball, and Uruguay generate a counter-attack and score."
Ecuador next host Venezuela on Tuesday while Uruguay are on the road against Chile.