Uruguay looked dead and buried at the Emirates Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah, only to rescue a point against Côte d'Ivoire with a 1-1 draw thanks to a last-gasp equaliser from Franco Acosta with the final kick of the game. The draw was hard luck on the Ivorians, who were the better of the two teams throughout and will be disappointed by the defensive sloppiness of the late leveler.
The Ivorians came out in a more positive fashion than their opening-day loss to Italy, pushing forward in an attempt to thwart the talented South American attackers who put seven past New Zealand in their first game. And it took the Africans only 17 minutes to score the opener.
Kouame N’Guessan played the ball through for Aboubakar Keita, who fired in a shot from well outside the box. Uruguay defender Joel Bregonis took a wild swing at the ball that sent it spinning up and over the head of Thiago Cardozo and into the back of the net.
Three minutes after the opener, Côte d'Ivoire nearly doubled their lead. Captain Franck Kessie rose high in the area, but he could only guide his header against the crossbar. Meite Yakou followed up on the rebound, but he couldn’t put his shot on target either.
Marksman Acosta had the best chance for Uruguay at the end of the first-half, but his shot after a good turn could only hit the woodwork. The South Americans were back on the defensive again at the start of the second period. Keita’s lovely side-footed shot from distance was denied only by the upright to a sigh of relief from the Uruguayan defence after 56 minutes.
Côte d'Ivoire kept up the pressure for the remainder of the contest. But Uruguay, who really looked out of the game for most of the second-half, had a bit of good fortune in the final seconds to rescue a point. There was panic in the Ivorian back-line in the third and final minute of stoppage time, with the Africans unable to clear their lines properly. The ball fell to Acosta, who swiveled inside the area and hit a deflected shot into the back of the net.
The west Africans, who were slumped on the field in disbelief after the final whistle, next face New Zealand on 23 October in Group B play. Uruguay will take on Italy that same day to round out the South Americans' group stage competition.