Uruguay pulled off a huge upset in their FIFA U-20 World Cup quarter-final, beating Spain 1-0 after extra-time to progress to the semi-finals. A lone Felipe Avenatti goal was all that could separate the two sides after two hours of football, despite plenty of chances at both ends to win the match in normal time.
Both teams began confidently, trying to find a chink in the armour of the opposition. Spain dominated early possession but Uruguay, with the tightest defence left in the competition, were proving a tough nut to crack. Despite seeing less of the ball, the South Americans had a few chances themselves, although it was the European champions who went closest in the opening exchanges.
A corner from Gerard Deulofeu, utilising the swirling winds inside the Ataturk Stadium in Bursa, almost caught Guillermo De Amores off guard. But the goalkeeper recovered well, diving backwards to tip the goal-bound effort onto the bar.
While new Inter Milan signing Diego Laxalt went close from range soon after, and Los Charruas continued to look threatening, Spain were carving out the better chances. First, after Jose Campana's inswinging cross was headed back across goal, centre-back Derik went mightily close to his second of Turkey 2013. Then superb combination play between the impressive Oliver and Deulofeu saw the Barcelona forward skew a shot wastefully wide.
Gino Acevedo had a great opportunity to give Uruguay the lead, but with time and space at the far post following a corner, he saw his shot blocked in front of goal. With half-time beckoning, Suso drew a late save from De Amores after the Liverpool midfielder shot from wide on the right.
In a half that was much less open than the first, Laxalt surprised Daniel Sotres with a shot from range just before Jese had the clearest opportunity of the game. Javier Manquillo's deep cross found the forward in behind the Uruguay backline, but the striker side-footed wide when he should have at least hit the target.
This seemed to briefly jolt Spain into action, as substitute Paco Alcacer then created space leaving him just De Amores to beat, but Gaston Silva flew in with a fine last-ditch block. With 89 minutes on the clock Giorgian De Arrascaeta came close with a 35-yard free-kick, before Diego Rolan's flicked header forced Sotres into a fine save on the final whistle.
In making that stop, Sotres suffered a painful collision with the post, so Ruben Yanez began extra-time in the Spanish goal. Virtually the first thing he had to do was pick the ball out of his net as Uruguay's aerial assault finally paid off, with De Arrascaeta's corner finding the towering substitute Avenatti to power home an unstoppable header.
Israel Puerto missed a gilt-edged in the second period of extra-time, heading wide from right in front of goal following Oliver's cross. But it could have been 2-0 when Nicolas Lopez and Yanez collided leaving an open goal for Diego Rolan to shoot at from distance, only for the ball to be headed clear.
The South Americans ultimately held out and will now face the winner of tomorrow's quarter-final in Kayseri between Iraq and Korea Republic.