By Izuchukwu Okosi
Uruguay secured a laborious 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in a Group A second round of matches for both sides at the Rostov Arena Wednesday evening which eliminated the latter from the World Cup on the occasion of their fourth meeting – the other three being in friendly matches.
Luis Suarez was the scorer of the South Americans’ solitary goal.
Saudi Arabia have failed to score in eight of their last 10 World Cup games and failed to register a single shot on target against Russia.
Uruguay showed their intents with an early shot by Luis Suarez moments after the first whistle sounded and Edison Cavani’s 12th minute attempt went too high to cause any havoc.
Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais misjudged the flight of the ball from a corner in the 23rd minute and Uruguay went ahead from Suarez who was in the perfect position to tuck home the ball and earn his 52nd international goal from 100 games.
Hattan Bahebri hit a powerful left footed shot after Uruguay’s goal but a one handed save by Fernando Muslera meant it was only going to be a corner kick. He also went close with a looped effort three minutes later.
Saudi Arabia grew in confidence as the game went by, putting together great number of passes, but their final balls let them down.
Unfortunately for the Green Falcons, influential midfielder Taiseer Al Jassam went down injured with a groin injury and had to be subbed off and replaced by Hussain Al-Mogahwi.
Saudi Arabia defended better than in the defeat to Russia and captain Osama Hawsawi was at the centre of most of those denying both Suarez and substitute Diego Laxalt with vital blocks.
Upfront they caused the Uruguayan backline few problems but Fahad Al Muwallad did not apply the finishing touches to the chances created and was replaced by Mohammed Kanno fifteen minutes to full time.
Lucas Torreira’s shot in the 80th minute deflected off Cavani which wrong footed the Arabian keeper but luckily saw the ball go out for goal kick.
By Izuchukwu Okosi