Moscow [Russia]: Barcelona striker Luis Suarez’s stunning volley in his 100th national game helped Uruguay secure its second win in a row at the ongoing 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup, after they ousted Saudi Arabia with 1-0 win in a group stage match at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on Wednesday.
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Suarez’s 23rd-minute goal has booked Uruguay’s place in the World Cup knockout rounds.
This also means that hosts Russia, who have won their opening two Group A matches, are through to the next phase with one fixture to spare, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia are both out of the tournament.
The only goal of the game came after a corner from the left was taken by Carlos Sanchez. While Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais miss-timed the ball, Suarez was on hand to knock it inside the nets and become the first Uruguay player to score at three World Cups.
With Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men unable to create a clear chance, Saudi Arabia are without a win in 12 World Cup matches and in danger of finishing bottom of their group.
Saudi Arabia initially showed far greater defensive resilience following their 5-0 defeat in the match against Russia. However, Al Owais, who replaced Abdullah Al-Mayoof in the side, gifted Uruguay the opener in the 23rd minute after he completely missed a left-wing Sanchez corner.
While Saudi Arabia did try hard to find an equalizer, their efforts went in vain thanks to strong defending from Uruguay.
The flat feel of the game continued after the interval with both sides struggling to build tempo in the hot conditions.
Russia and Uruguay can now look forward to a likely second-round meeting against either Portugal or Spain, depending on the outcome of Group B’s remaining contests.