Uruguay ride on Forlan show

Latin Americans stay in semis hunt

Diego Forlan marked his 100th international appearance with a magnificent winning goal as Uruguay closed on the Confederations Cup semifinals berth by beating chief Group B rivals Nigeria 2-1.

The 34-year-old completed a sweeping move in the 51st minute on Thursday to score his 34th international goal, enabling him to reclaim the national scoring record from Luis Suarez, who had equalled it in the 2-1 loss to Spain.

Captain Diego Lugano bundled Uruguay ahead in the 19th minute, only for Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi to equalise for Nigeria with a skilfully taken goal eight minutes before half-time. Victory meant group leaders Spain, who thrashed minnows Tahiti 10-0 earlier in the day, must wait to confirm their place in the semifinals.

Nigeria and Uruguay will go into Sunday’s final group fixtures level on three points, but while Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay are practically assured of victory over Tahiti, Stephen Keshi’s Nigeria are obliged to tackle the mighty Spain.

Nigeria enjoyed the lion’s share of support from a meagre crowd, who made their way to Arena Fonte Nova despite widespread protests in Salvador over the alleged misallocation of government funds, but it was Uruguay who made the early running.

Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama had to turn a rising strike from Cristian Rodriguez over the bar in the first minute, and despite a brief flurry of Nigerian attacks, it was Uruguay who broke the deadlock.

Forlan’s left-wing corner was cleared back to him and although his low cross lacked power and Edinson Cavani failed with an attempted back-heel at the near post, Lugano was on hand to scuff the ball home.

Nigeria continued to press forward boldly, however, and in the 37th minute they equalised with a delightful goal.

Nigeria began the second period just as gamely, but six minutes in, Forlan struck with a goal of luminous quality involving all three of Uruguay’s attacking stars.

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