Centurion Forlan downs Nigeria
© Getty Images

Diego Forlan marked his 100th appearance for Uruguay with a brilliant left-footed drive to see his side beat Nigeria 2-1 and put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano had given his side the lead with a scuffed effort from a Forlan cross, before John Obi Mikel levelled with a goal on his 50th Nigerian cap.

The game was fragmented in the opening stages, but the cagey affair sparked into life thanks to the Uruguay skipper.

Forlan received the ball on the Uruguay left and drilled a cross towards Edinson Cavani. The Napoli forward tried to flick the ball on at the near post but did not connect and Lugano had the simple task of nudging the ball into the net.

Nigeria responded after Uruguay failed to capitalise on their advantage. Brown Ideye played the ball into Mikel, who skipped past goalscorer Lugano and placed a left-footed shot past the despairing Fernando Muslera.

Nigeria pressed in the closing stages of the first half, but they could not convert their possession into meaningful opportunities. Uruguay then came out with renewed purpose in the second half and it was a fairytale goal just five minutes after the interval.

Cavani received the ball in space in between the Nigeria defence and midfield and laid the ball on for Forlan. The 34-year-old let the ball run across his body before dispatching a left-footed drive into the top corner. He became the second centurion, after Andrea Pirlo on Sunday, to mark his 100th cap with a goal in this tournament.

Cavani had several good opportunities to extend Uruguay’s lead, skewing a shot wide after going clear and heading past the post when left unmarked from a free kick.

The Napoli forward’s profligacy did not matter though, as Forlan’s centenary strike sees his side head into the final group game against Tahiti in a strong position to qualify. Nigeria face Spain in Fortaleza, with La Furia Roja needing a point to guarantee their place in the semi-finals.