Montevideo (Uruguay), June 3: Jose Rondon scored on a header in the 84th minute to give surprising Venezuela a 1-1 draw with Uruguay in South American World Cup qualifying on Saturday.
Diego Forlan scored in the 39th for Uruguay in a match that — except for the two goals — was lackluster until heating up near the end.
Uruguay is unbeaten in 16 matches and rated the best team in South America. Uruguay finished fourth in the 2010 World Cup, won the Copa America last year and has soared to a historic best of No. 3 in the FIFA rankings.
Venezuela is the only team in the South American confederation yet to play in a World Cup.
Rondon scored the equalizer, which came after he had headed a ball just wide in the 68th as Venezuela began to threaten.
Forlan got his after taking a perfect through pass from Alvaro Pereyra. He settled the ball with his right foot, and slotted it home with his left from 10 meters (yards).
Uruguay had a chance to put the match away early in the first half, but Venezuela keeper Renny Vega came up with two sprawling saves in the 51st on Edinson Cavani and Diego Lugano.
In the next round of qualifying, Venezuela is home on June 9 against Chile, and Uruguay is home on June 10 against Peru.
Uruguay: Fernando Muslera, Maxi Pereira, Diego Lugano (Sebastian Coates, 77), Diego Godin, Martin Caceres, Diego Perez (Alvaro Gonzalez, 74), Egidio Arevalo, Alvaro Pereyra, Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani.
Venezuela: Renny Vega, Roberto Rosales, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Fernando Amorebieta, Gabriel Cichero, Tomas Rincon, Giacomo Di Giorgi (Yohandry Orozco), Juan Arango, Luis Seijas, Frank Feltscher (Nicolas Fedor, 54), Jose Rondon.