FIFA Confederations Cup: Nigeria 1 Uruguay 2
By Football News
Uruguay are well-placed to reach the Confederations Cup semi-finals after a 2-1 win over Nigeria on Thursday.
Goals from Diego Lugano and Diego Forlan fired Oscar Tabarez's men to the important victory at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Bahia.
Forlan produced a fine display as he became the first Uruguayan to make 100 international appearances.
John Obi Mikel's goal had put Nigeria on level terms late in the first half, but they looked second best throughout.
Nigeria remain second to Spain in Group B on goal difference but they now face the world and European champions, while Uruguay should cruise past lowly Tahiti.
Uruguay dominated the early exchanges and Cristian Rodriguez had an effort from just outside the area smartly tipped over the crossbar by Vincent Enyeama.
The 2011 Copa America champions settled faster, but Nigeria looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
Ahmed Musa fired well wide in the 11th minute before Ideye Brown tested Fernando Muslera, who spilled his free-kick before recovering to save.
Ideye had another opportunity from the dead ball after a quarter of an hour but put his effort over before Uruguay opened the scoring on 19 minutes.
Nigeria appeared to have dealt with a corner, only for Forlan to control and play a pass across the area.
Napoli star Edinson Cavani tried an ambitious back-heel and missed, seeing the ball fall for Lugano to scramble over the line from close range.
Forlan missed a half-chance seven minutes later after a clever Luis Suarez run as Uruguay remained in control of the contest.
But Stephen Keshi's men had their moments and struck an equaliser through Mikel eight minutes before half-time.
Ideye played a pass into the feet of Mikel just inside the area and the Chelsea midfielder – one-on-one with Lugano – skipped past the Uruguay defender and side-footed his effort into the top corner.
Muslera was called into action once more before the half-time whistle, tipping over a header from team-mate Diego Godin, who was attempting to clear a corner.
Nigeria were the brighter side after the interval, but Uruguay regained their lead thanks to a fine goal from Forlan.
Uruguay's star attackers – Suarez, Cavani and Forlan – combined before the 34-year-old fired a powerful left-foot effort past Enyeama, who perhaps should have done better at his near post.
Ideye tried an ambitious bicycle free-kick from the edge of the area just after the hour-mark as Nigeria struggled to seriously threaten.
Cavani had a chance to seal the game with 20 minutes remaining after a delightful long pass freed him down the right.
But after bearing down on goal, he blazed high and wide – shooting while off balance.
Cavani missed yet another opportunity minutes later, heading a delightful Forlan free-kick wide after being left unmarked in the area, but it mattered not in the end.