(WFI) Uruguay are on the brink of the Confederations Cup semi-finals after a 2-1 win over Nigeria in Salvador.
Diego Lugano put Uruguay in front in the 19th minute. Diego Forlan, who was celebrating his 100th cap, sent in a low cross from the left flank which was slotted home by the team’s captain.
Eight minutes before half-time, Nigeria equalised. John Obi Mikel’s bending left-foot shot found the left corner of the net after beating Lugano inside the 18-yard box.
Forlan’s doubled his tally in the 51st minute, and it proved to be the match-winner. Forward Edinson Cavani played a nicely weighted pass out to Forlan whose first time left-foot drive found the upper corner.
Uruguay are virtually guaranteed a semi-finals slot; Nigeria can only advance if they beat the World Cup holders and Uruguay lose against Tahiti.
Man of the match for Uruguay was Forlan. His goal and assist were essential to the three points. His confidence flowed through the rest of the team; every time he was on the ball he created good opportunities. After not starting the first match against Spain, he provided the spark that the team was missing.
Nigeria’s star performer was John Obi Mikel. He was outstanding in the centre of midfield, winning tackles and distributing the ball well. His constant work rate gave the opposition big problems, as he worked hard to get involved in the attacks. His performance was capped by a great piece of individual skill and a fantastic finish.
The Arena Fonte Nova hosted its first match of the 2013 Confederations Cup. In total, 26,769 fans witnessed an exciting Group B match.
Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi became only the second African coach in history to win the African Cup of Nations both as a player and as a coach. He was a champion as a player with the Nigerian squad in 1994 and won the tournament again as a head coach in 2012.
By INSIDER’s Jeff Scannella
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