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Uruguay through to knockout stage after 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia

Uruguay 1 (Suarez 23′)
Saudi Arabia 0

By Emma McColl

Striker Luis Suarez has locked in a position in the knockout stage for Uruguay after a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the Group B match in Rostov.

Suarez marked his 100th international appearance for his country with a goal in the 23rd minute.

Carlos Sanchez’s corner from the left was missed by Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais, leaving an unmarked Suarez to tap in to an empty net.

Uruguay had more attempts at goal starting with Edinson Cavani who skied a half-volley over the bar from just outside the six-yard box in the 14th minute.

Another opportunity for Uruguay was missed in the 80th minute when Cavani’s head got in the way of a long range shot by Lucas Torreira but the ball deflected agonisingly wide of the goal with Al Owais completely wrong-footed.

The Saudis had their chances. The best of them was in the 28th minute when a cross from the left by Yasser Alshahrani dropped just outside the six-yard box but Hatan Bahbri skied his half-volley over the bar.

Then, in the 38th minute, Salem Al Dawsari’s ambitious strike from well outside the penalty area sailed over the crossbar.

Those chances were rare as neither side regularly threatened their opponents’ goal, the Uruguayans only managing eight shots on goal and the Saudis five.

Saudi Arabia had plenty of possession in the closing stages,but couldn’t break down the Uruguay defence.

Saudi Arabia’s performance was an improvement on its 5-0 drubbing by Russia in the opening match but they remain winless in their past 12 World Cup matches.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said the Saudis were no pushover.

“The only thing that surprised me was the low level of my team in the first half. We were very far from our usual level, and you could say that’s because Saudi Arabia made it hard for us.”

Saudi Arabia will be going home after its final group match Egypt and is in danger of finishing last in Group A.

The winner of Group A will be decided when the two unbeaten teams, Russia and Uruguay, meet in Samara on June 25th .

Match Statistics

Uruguay: 47%
Saudi Arabia: 53%

Goal Attempts:
Uruguay: 6 (7 on target)
Saudi Arabia: 4 (5 on target)

Uruguay: 3
Saudi Arabia: 4

Uruguay: 9
Saudi Arabia: 12

Team Line-ups

Uruguay: 1 Muslera, 4 Varela, 2 Gimenez, 3 Godin, 22 Caceres, 5 Sanchez, 15 Vecino, 6 Bentancur, 7 Rodriguez, 9 Suarez, 21 Cavani
Substitutes: 12 Campana, 8 Nandez (s 82’), 10 De Arrascaeta, 11 Stuani, 13 Silva, 14 Torreira (s 59’), 18 Gomez, 19 Coates, 20 Urreta, 23 Silva

Saudi Arabia: 22 Al-Owais, 6 Al-Breik, 3 Hawasawi, 4 Al Bulaihi, 13 Al-Shahrani, 9 Bahbir, 7 Al-Faraj, 14 Otayf, 17 Al-Jassam, 18 Al Dawsari, 19 Al-Muwallad
Substitutes: 1 Al-Muaiouf, 2 Al-Harbi, 5 Hawasawi, 8 Al-Shehri, 10 Al-Sahlawi (s 78’), 11 Al-Khaibri, 12 Kanno (s 75’), 15 Al-Khaibari, 16 Al-Moqahwi (s 44’), 20 Asiri, 23 Hawsawi, 21 Al-Mosailem

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