Uruguay claimed a crucial victory away to Ecuador on Saturday to keep their hopes of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualification alive going into the final round of fixtures in the South America zone.

An injury-time penalty from Diego Forlan gave the Charruas victory at the Olimpico Atahualpa and they now need a win over Argentina on Wednesday to achieve automatic qualification.

Antonio Valencia had put the home side ahead in the second half only for Luis Suarez to equalise almost immediately. The match started evenly, but Uruguay had a chance to take the lead in the tenth minute when Marcelo Elizaga saved a Luis Suarez shot.

Ecuador were beginning to dominate possession, but it was Uruguay who posed the greater goal threat as Forlan tested Elizaga with a couple of long-range efforts.

Neither team could find a goal in the opening period, but Manchester United midfielder Valencia broke the deadlock 20 minutes after the interval. Uruguay, though, needed only 60 seconds to get back on level terms, as Forlan set up Suarez to score.

Ecuador were seeing far more of the ball, but they had their hopes dashed when a penalty was awarded after Edison Cavani had been fouled in the area by Elizaga. And Atletico Madrid striker Forlan made no mistake from the post to earn his side a crucial victory.

Ecuador must now beat Chile on Wednesday to make sure of a play-off place against a country from the North, Central American and Caribbean qualifying zone. The Uruguayans, meanwhile, will make it to South Africa 2010 if they beat Argentina.