Coco thunderbolt seals Uruguay victory
© AFP

A stunning free-kick from Coco sealed the points for Uruguay as they defeated a Portugal side which struggled to create opportunities in this Group A encounter.

The game was billed as the battle of Madjer and Ricar, but really it was the performances of Bruno and Diego which deserved the most acclaim. Time after time, the respective No1s, produced fine saves to deny their opponents. Indeed, this was the lowest-scoring encounter of the competition to date, not because of wasteful finishing, but simply because both goalkeepers were unbeatable.

Uruguay began brightly. Ricar rattled the post in the fourth minute and two minutes later they went ahead when Pampero’s cross-cum-shot found Coco sliding in at the far post. The following ten minutes were dominated by the goalkeepers, but Diego was powerless to stop Belchoir’s free kick midway through the second period.

It would take something special to beat both of these goalkeepers and so it proved. With the game heading for a draw, Uruguay were awarded a free-kick inside their own half. Coco teed the ball up in the sand and unleashed a right-footed piledriver which flew into the top right hand corner of the net. It was a goal worthy of winning any game – and it was enough to win this one.

After losing to the Solomon Islands, this victory puts the South Americans ahead of Portugal, who drew 5-5 against UAE in their opening encounter.