Uruguay 2-1 Portugal
Portugal have been eliminated by Uruguay in the World Cup’s Round of 16, courtesy of an Edinson Cavani brace in a 2-1 loss at the Fisht Stadium.
The European champions fell behind to Cavani’s strike as early as the 7th minute, but Pepe’s equaliser in the second half promised to provide a different kind of night for the Portuguese public.
Uruguay pulled ahead once more, however, this time in decisive fashion, as Cavani’s match-winner in the 62nd minute moved his nation into the Quarter-finals at Portugal’s expense.
The big news coming out of the Portuguese camp saw William Carvalho overcome fears of an injury to start the encounter, accompanied by the returns of Bernardo Silva, Gonçalo Guedes and a World Cup debut for Ricardo Pereira, meanwhile Uruguay welcomed back José Giménez into a defence that was yet to concede a goal throughout the tournament.
Despite a positive start from Portugal, La Celeste wouldn’t take long to edge themselves ahead in the tie, as Luis Suarez spotted Edinson Cavani’s ghosting run onto the back-post before the Paris Saint-Germain striker could find a way past Rui Patrício in the 7th minute with his head.
From one elite striker to another, Suarez was next to try his luck against Patrício with a low free-kick in the 21st minute, but the ex-Sporting man was able to move his feet quickly and reach the effort with the palm of his hands.
Portugal, in response, were unable to make any inroads at the opposing end, as Uruguay stood strong to frustrate Fernando Santos’ men and hold onto their 1-0 lead going into the interval.
The complexion of the game changed soon after the restart, however, as a quick corner and delivery from Raphaël Guerreiro was dropped into the box for Pepe to equalise in the 55th minute, lurking behind the man-marked Cristiano Ronaldo.
But Uruguay’s reply was big, initiated by Rodrigo Bentancur’s pass across to Cavani, with the 31-year-old striker relishing the opportunity to open up his body and bend in a second goal from the edge of the box, making it 2-1 for Óscar Tabárez’s men.
Bernardo Silva had the chance to bring Portugal back level after Fernando Muslera struggled to keep a hold of Guerreiro’s cross soon after, but the Manchester City starlet would snatch at his shot and fire over the bar, amidst complaints of a foul on the Galatasaray goalkeeper.
Late on, chances at either end from Cristian Rodriguez and Ricardo Quaresma threatened to alter the score, but 2-1 to Uruguay is how the tale would end, as Portugal’s World Cup campaign drew to a close.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Uruguay: Fernando Muslera - Martín Cáceres, Diego Godin, José Giménez - Nahitan Nández (Carlos Sanchez, 80’), Lucas Torreira, Rodrigo Bentancur (Cristian Rodriguez, 63’), Matias Vecino, Diego Laxalt - Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani (Cristhian Stuani, 72’)
Portugal: Rui Patrício - Ricardo Pereira, Pepe, José Fonte, Raphaël Guerreiro - Bernardo Silva, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva (Ricardo Quaresma, 65’), João Mário (Manuel Fernandes, 85’) - Gonçalo Guedes (André Silva, 72’), Cristiano Ronaldo
[1-0] - Edinson Cavani (7’)
[1-1] - Pepe (55’)
[2-1] - Edinson Cavani (65’)