Edison Cavani scored two goals as a tactical Uruguay beat Portugal 2-1 on Saturday night to progress to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup played in the Fisht Stadium, Sochi.
This quite possibly brought an end to the career of Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup appearances in a day that Lionel Messi’s Argentina was also tossed out if the tournament.
In the fifth minute of the match, Portugal created the first meaningful chance when Cristiano Ronaldo combined with Bernardo Silva. The Manchester City playmaker fed Ronaldo from the left flank and the talisman captain firing a left-footed shot straight at Fernando Muslera in goal.
This did little to deter Uruguay from their resolve as the South Americans took the lead two minutes later. A cross-field ball from Edison Cavani to Luis Suarez was reciprocated with the Barcelona man delivering a near-perfect cross. Cavani fully leapt to head the ball home from three yards out.
Portugal tried to respond in the 10th minute after Silva’s corner. Centre back Jose Fonte headed across the goal but there was no one in sight to steer the ball goalwards. Portugal bossed possession for the next ten minutes with Goncalo Guedes and Silva in particular opening up play for the European champions.
In the 20th minute, Fonte conceded a dangerous free kick from just outside the penalty area when he clipped Suarez from the behind. Suarez dusted himself to take the set piece. He curled in a wonderful free kick that went through the wall but Rui Patricio was equal to the task by parring the ball to safety.
Ronaldo had a chance of his own in the 30th minute after Rodrigo Bentancur brought down Guedes from just outside the box. There was only one man to take it. Ronaldo blasted his hard shot against the wall much to his disappointment as the teams closed out the first half.
Pepe levels matter
In the second half, Raphael Guerrero shot in anger following a well taken Silva corner but his shot was way off target. The left back was involved in the equaliser which came in the 55th minute. Silva played a short corner to Guerrero who in turned delivered a teasing cross into the box that an unmarked Pepe headed home.
Uruguay responded as Pepe turned from hero to villain on the other end. His misguided header opened the door for Uruguay’s counter attack. Nahitan Nandez set up Cavani who curled in his second goal into the far post with a first time shot in the 62nd minute to pile pressure on the Portuguese.
Cavani had to be taken off after what appeared to be a leg injury in the 70th minute with Christian Stuani as his relacement. Uruguay defended bravely in the final minutes to secure the hard-fought win.