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James Rodriguez strike puts Colombia atop CONMEBOL standings

Sep 6, 2013, 8:45 PM EDT

FBL-WC2014-QUALIFIERS-COL-ECU Getty Images

Ecuador defender Gabriel Achiller was sent off in the 28th minute, and James Rodriguez (pictured, right) capitalized three minutes later to send Colombia into a tie atop the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table with Argentina.

The $48.6 million Monaco winger slotted home the rebound off a shot by Falcao from a long way out.

The original shot was well saved by Ecuadorian keeper Maximo Banguera, but he failed to turn the ball around the goalpost, instead putting it on a platter for Rodriguez to tuck home far post from a tight angle.

The 1-0 victory essentially assures Colombia, with three matches remaining in CONMEBOL play, will qualify for Brazil 2014.

The top four teams in the nine-country table automatically qualify for the World Cup, and the team in the fifth position plays the Asian winner – either Jordan or Uzbekistan – for the right to make the trip.

Colombia is now tied atop the South American standings with Argentina, both on 26 points.  The cutoff in the table appears to be very distinct – Chile in the fourth and final automatic spot has 21 points, while Uruguay sits in fifth with 16 points.

Elsewhere in South America, Paraguay separated themselves from Bolivia at the bottom of the table by trouncing Bolivia 4-0. Chile defeated Venezuela 3-0, and Uruguay still has yet to play tonight, taking on Peru.

Here’s Rodriguez’s goal:

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