Without doubt, Luis Suarez was the star of the show as Uruguay stormed to a lead and then held off a frustrated Portugal team to record a stirring 2-1 victory in front of 46,000 Portuguese home fans. Not even Ronaldo’s brilliance was enough to claw back the South Americans advantage, despite scoring Portugal’s only goal.
All the damage was done in the first half. Uruguay were inspiring and dominant, led by Suarez passion.
Suarez’s first goal came in the 15th minute after clever interplay at the top of the Portugal penalty box ultimately led to a wicked snap shot that had to be fended around the post by the goalkeeper. From the ensuing corner kick, Suarez pounced to the front post and whipped a vicious header into the back of the net from close range.
The red lines show the direction of the ball swung to the front post where Suarez powered a header into the back of the net to give Uruguay a 1-0 lead.
Fifteen minutes later Uruguay and Suarez had their second goal after a Portuguese defensive disaster.
Playing out from the back the ball was stolen in the midfield by Uruguay who were pressing the home team high up the pitch. A quick pass forward into space between the fractured defenders found Suarez lurking again. From 12 yards out the lethal striker made no mistake.
After 30 minutes, Uruguay were leading 2-0.
Top: The diagram shows the ball played through and the space for Suarez to seize the ball behind the broken Portuguese defense.
Bottom: Suarez makes no mistake from the gifted opportunity.
Losing 0-2, Portugal immediately made a substitution, bringing on a third striker in exchange for a midfielder and reverting to a 4-3-3 formation. It didn’t have an impact on Uruguay who were playing with inspired passion.
In the second half, Uruguay looked solid and composed. Ronaldo was becoming frustrated. There seemed little space for the superstar striker amidst heavy marking, so when he found an inch of room in the 50th minute, Ronaldo had every right to feel his chance had finally come.
But on the edge of the box he was brought down cynically by a Uruguayan defender in a professional foul. The referee had no hesitation. The defender was shown a red card and sent off. Uruguay would be forced to play out the remaining 40 minutes of the match with just 10 men.
From the resulting free kick, Ronaldo’s effort sailed wide of the goal… but suddenly the crowd sensed a crucial change in the match’s momentum.
No luck. Despite being an expert at dead ball situations, Ronaldo’s strike on goal sailed harmlessly wide of the target.
The send off changed the balance of the entire match. Portugal began a ferocious press on the Uruguayan ball carriers while the South Americans deliberately looked to slow down play and hold possession.
In the 62nd minute Portugal finally broke through after an attack on the left side of the defense and then a sudden switch of play towards the right, stretching the Uruguayans threadbare. The long floating pass was mishit but Ronaldo challenged and shouldered his way to possession with sheer determination. He regained his balance and fired off a shot from 10 yards to score Portugal’s only goal of the match.
Ronaldo’s sheer determination wins a goal for Portugal. The star striker shouldered his way to possession and then fired on goal to make the score line 2-1 in favour of Uruguay.
The last twenty-five minutes of the match were fraught with tension as Uruguay clung valiantly to their tenuous lead and Portugal pressed until exhausted.
The final score was a fitting reflection of the game; Uruguay 2: Portugal 1.