Uruguay vs. Nigeria: Final score 2-1, Super Eagles in deep trouble

Clive Rose

Despite their poor initial showing against Spain, Uruguay look like favorites to progress to the next round of the Confederations Cup after their victory over Nigeria.

Uruguay were disappointing to the point of getting booed loudly by neutral fans in their opening game against Spain, but they were much better against Nigeria on Thursday night. They gave away an early lead, but fought back to go in front in the second half, and they never let go of their 2-1 lead.

Edinson Cavani might have been the man of the match for his team, despite his struggles to score. While his finishing wasn't on point, he was his team's most dangerous play, directly set up the winner and had a big hand in setting up the opener as well. However, this game will probably be best remembered for Diego Forlan's performance. He finished off the winner, marking his 100th cap in the best way possible.

Uruguay's opener came at the end of a great spell of Uruguay dominance, in the 19th minute. Immediately after a set piece, Diego Forlan put a ball into the center of the box, towards Cavani and Diego Lugano. Cavani attempted to backheel the ball, but ended up simply playing a dummy for Lugano. The central defender applied a defender's finish, mis-kicking the ball, but he got enough on it to find the back of the net.

Nigeria started to look dangerous on the counter around the time of the goal and finally found an equalizer in the 37th minute, from a hilariously unlikely source. John Obi Mikel, who has never scored in 186 Premier League appearances, turned Lugano inside-out before placing a skillful finish into the top corner from 15 yards.

Sadly for Nigeria, they didn't stay in the game long. Cavani set up Forlan's winner in the 51st minute on the break, with Forlan hitting a brilliant strike to the top corner at the near post from the edge of the box, and the Uruguayans remained in control for the rest of the game. Nigeria had the odd promising attack here and there, but nothing terribly threatening.

Uruguay face Tahiti next, and should be able to better Nigeria's five-goal margin of victory, though they might not touch Spain's 10. The Nigerians will almost certainly have to beat Spain to progress to the next round.

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