Uruguay vs Portugal World Cup 2018 Match Review and Result: Round of 16 clash: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi – June 30, 2018
Uruguay 2, Portugal 1
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In a strange conincidence of sorts, the two contemporary greats, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had to bid farewell to the World Cup Russia 2018 on the same day. The coincidences do not end there. Both were upstaged by Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, strikers incidentally playing for the same club, Paris St. Germain.
In a tournament that hasn't been short of stunning goals, Cavani opened the account for the Uruguayans in the 7th minute with a lunging header from a well-directed Luis Suarez high pass that completely eluded the Portuguese keeper Rui Patrício.
This was Cavani's 45th international goal with his illustrious partner, Suarez, assisting in 12 of those.
The Uruguayan striker's effort was cancelled out by an unmarked Pepe who rose out of nowhere in the box to head in the equalizer from a corner kick. This was the first goal the Uruguayans conceded in the tournament.
The 62nd minute saw Rodrigo Bentancur essaying a pass to Cavani at the edge of the penalty to which the PSG forward opened up his body and curled in a sublime finish past the keeper into the far corner to give the South Americans the lead.
That was the last contribution to the match from Cavani as the crestfallen striker had to limp off from a hamstring injury.
In a show of great sportsmanship Ronaldo helped Cavani off the field but ironically that was the only lasting impression the Portugal captain made on the game. Like Messi earlier, he was mere bystander to his team's exit.
Despite the subdued Ronaldo,the Portuguese certainly were knocking on Uruguay’s door in the final 20 minutes, the attempted fightback being led by Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and the very impressive Ricardo Quaresma who for some strange reason was introduced late into the game in the 65th minute. Both Quaresma and another late introduction, Andre Silva, came close to scoring but by then it was too late. All in all the Portuguese were outdone and outshone by the likes of Suarez, Cavani and Bentancur playing a brilliant combination game upfront and some dour late defending from Jose Gimenez and Atletico Madrid Diego Godín.
Uruguay's triumphant celebrations was somewhat marred by the injury to Cavani whose critical role in taking the South Americans forward in the Cup simply cannot be described in words. A worried Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez claimed it was too early to determine the extent of his top scorer's injury.
Tabarez said: “He left injured, yes, and I don’t know. I still haven’t spoken with doctor”.
Uruguay now move into the quarter-finals on July 6th where they take on Les Blues who truly look unstoppable after dumping out Messi and Argentina in a thrilling 4-3 win at Kazan.