Edinson Cavani was the scourge of Portugal as Uruguay marched into the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup with a 2-1 win in Sochi.
All eyes were on Portugal’s leading man Cristiano Ronaldo to see if he could inspire his side to victory but, at the opposite end of the pitch, Uruguay had arguably the best strikeforce at this summer’s World Cup primed and ready to make an impact of their own.
And that strike partnership of Cavani and Luis Suarez combined superbly to break the deadlock after just seven minutes.
Cavani took possession wide on the right and hit a raking cross-field pass to Suarez on the opposite flank. The Barcelona man controlled instantly, then fired a deep cross to the back post, where Cavani leapt to head powerfully past Rui Patricio in the Portuguese goal.
— FootySays (@Footy_Says) June 30, 2018
Uruguay effectively kept Portugal at arms’ length for the remainder of the half, but after the break the European Champions upped the pressure and made the breakthrough in the 55th minute when Pepe rose highest to head home a corner.
Portugal seemed to be in the ascendancy, but it was Uruguay who struck back as Cavani netted his all-important second goal of the day on 62 minutes.
A long goalkeeping clearance went towards Suarez through the middle and the ball was fed out to the left, where Cavani was waiting. The Paris Saint-Germain striker then stepped inside and hit a perfectly-struck shot wide of Patricio and into the far corner of the net.
— ArenaVision (@ArenaVision_in) June 30, 2018
If you watch closely you can actually see Cavani holding R1. pic.twitter.com/kmBFQz6Hlu
— Sam (@SamwiseV) June 30, 2018
Cavani and Suarez were a constant threat throughout the game and, even after Cavani was withdrawn following his second goal, Suarez led the line tirelessly, and very nearly set up Cristian Rodriguez for a third goal in stoppage time.
Portugal threw players forward in the latter stages, but were unable to penetrate Uruguay’s well-drilled defence, led by Diego Godin, as the South Americans shut down the European Champions to close out their victory and secure their spot in the quarter-finals.
Uruguay will move on to Nizhny Novgorod to take on France, who produced a brilliant display to beat Argentina 4-3 in Kazan earlier in the day.