Photo: Uruguay Wins at Confed Cup
Veteran Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan scored his team’s winning goal in a 2-1 victory here over Nigeria in the Confederations Cup, giving a big boost to La Celeste’s chances of qualifying for the semifinals.
Forlan showed some of the form that made him the top player at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, setting the tempo and creating opportunities for his teammates.
Indeed, Uruguay could have won the game more convincingly if star striker Edinson Cavani had been as effective as usual in the penalty area.
Defenseman Diego Lugano opened the scoring in the 19th minute of Thursday evening’s match at Arena Fonte Nova, nudging the ball past Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama after Forlan had sent the ball in from the left side.
Uruguay, however, seemed to relax after that goal and Nigeria started to dominate the action in midfield.
The Africans were rewarded for their more assertive play when Brown Ideye sent a pass in the 37th minute to Mikel John Obi, who eluded Lugano and fired a perfect strike into the upper left corner of the goal.
But Forlan would have the final say in the match, celebrating his 100th national team appearance for Uruguay with a powerful, perfectly placed left-footed strike that gave Enyeama no chance.
The goal was the 34-year-old Forlan’s 34th with the national squad, moving him one ahead of teammate Luis Suarez for the most in team history.
Nigeria and Uruguay both have a loss and a win in Group B but the South Americans now have the clear advantage because they face lowly Tahiti on Sunday in their final round-robin contest.
The Africans, meanwhile, will almost surely need a victory over powerhouse Spain that same day to avoid elimination from the tournament. EFE