Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Luis Suarez guides Uruguay to knockouts, Saudi Arabia exit after second loss

Luis Suarez guides Uruguay to knockouts, Saudi Arabia exit after second loss

Uruguay, semi-finalists eight years ago in South Africa, have now reached the knockout stage for the third straight time, while Saudi Arabia will try again in their search for a first World Cup win since 1994 in their final game against Mohamed Salah's Egypt. The goal put Uruguay second in Group A with a maximum six points behind hosts Russian Federation.

Luis Suarez kept his teeth to himself and let his boots do the talking as he scored the only goal in an otherwise drab 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

It was a momentous day for Luis Suarez - the forward earned his 100th cap for Uruguay and he crowned the occasion with a goal. The aircraft landed safely after what one of the Saudi players called a "simple malfunction".

But Group A favourite Uruguay is still widely expected to clobber Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest World Cup team in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings at No. 67.

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At least Suarez, who missed three sitters in Uruguay's 1-0 opening win against Egypt, was his vintage efficient self with his 52nd global goal although he will not have dismissed fears he was not 100 percent fit. Strike partner, Edinson Cavani also spurned a second-half opportunity, stealing his way past a cloud of Saudi defenders and breaking into the box, only to fire his effort straight at Al-Owais. Saudi put up a good fight and performed well, although they never really troubled the Uruguay defence, they kept the ball well and limited Uruguay's attacking prowess.

They suffered a setback shortly before the interval as veteran Taisir Al-Jassim was replaced by Housain Al-Mogahwi with an apparent thigh injury.

They did come close to doubling the tally in the closing stages, however, when Lucas Torreira's wild shot took a deflection off of Cavani and nearly beat Al-Owais.

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