Match No.19 : Uruguay (1) – Saudi Arabia (0)

Stadium: Rostov Arena, Rostov, Russia

Match No. 19, Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
                                                      Match No. 19, Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia

After Russia defeated Egypt, it was clear that if Uruguay win, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will get eliminated from the group stages and Russia and Uruguay will qualify for the next round of the world cup. And, as expected, it was Uruguay who came out on top of a Saudi Arabia side which displayed an improved performance, better than that in their game vs Russia.

Saudi Arabia bossing possession(52%) did not give them any positives as they failed to create chances that could threaten Muslera’s goal, with 8 shots, of which only 2 were on target. As for Uruguay, they had 13 shots, of which 3 were on target.


7: Saudi Arabia earn a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Al-Dawsari stands over it. There’s six players in the Uruguayan wall.

22: CORNER! Rodriguez’s cut-back is met by Hawsawi. Can Uruguay produce a better delivery this time?

23:GOAL! URUGUAY 1-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Suarez, 23)

Suarez scores from a corner, taken by Carlos Sanchez.

45: SUB! FINALLY Al-Mogahwi comes on and poor Al-Jassam is allowed to go and get treatment in the dressing room.

60: DOUBLE SUB! Lucas Torreira replaces Matias Vecino and Diego Laxalt comes on for Cristian Rodriguez. Let’s hope they can spark this game into life.

62: CHANCE! A brilliant curling cross from the left by Cavani finds the head of Sanchez. His header from six yards is too high. That’s the best chance of the second half.

75: SUB! A second change for Saudi Arabia as Mohammed Kanno comes on for Hatan Bahbir.

77: CHANCE! Sanchez fires in a free-kick, where Caceres shoots goalwards, but his effort hits the offside Godin.

78: SUB! Final change for the Saudis. Mohammed Al-Sahlawi comes on for Fahad Al-Muwallad. They have 12 minutes plus added time to find the goal that keeps them in this tournament.

82: SUB! Final change of the game as Sanchez is replaced by Nandez.

86: CHANCE! Cavani almost makes it 2-0. He runs at Al-Bulayhi and collects a fortunate ricochet before shooting, prompting a good stop from Al-Owais.

Star Players:


Luis Suarez (**): Luis Suarez won his 100th cap for Uruguay and scored 5 goals in Uruguay’s qualifying campaign. He has scored 52 goals for his country and had a great last season with Barcelona, in which he helped them win La Liga and Copa del Rey.

The only goal scorer in the game, Luis Suarez
              The only goal scorer in the game, Luis Suarez

Saudi Arabia-

Mohammad Al-Sahlawi (*): The forward scored 16 goals in Saudi Arabia’s World Cup qualification, making him the joint highest top scorer in AFC qualifiers.  

Player Ratings :

(***- Exceeded Expectation, ** – Met Expectation, * – Didn’t meet the expectation)

Position Uruguay Position Saudi Arabia
GK Muslera ** GK Al Owais *
DF Varela * DF Al Shahrani *
DF Gimenez *** DF Albulayhi **
DF Godin *** DF Hawsawi **
DF Caceres ** DF Al-Burayk *
MF Sanchez ** DM Otayf **
MF Vecino ** DM Al Jassam **
MF Bentacur ** MF Al Dawsari *
MF Rodriguez ** MF Al-Faraj *
FW Cavani ** MF Bahebri **
FW Suarez *** FW Al-Muwallad *
MF Laxalt * MF Al-Mogahwi *
MF Torreira ** MF Kanno *
MF Nandez * FW Al Sahlawi *

Outstanding Player: Diego Godin

Star Performer, Diego Godin against Saudi Arabia
                         Star Performer, Diego Godin against Saudi Arabia

In a game of precious few chances, the central defenders from both sides emerged with the most credit.

Osama Hawsawi and Ali Al-Bulayhi saw their copybook blotted by Suarez’s sloppy winner, but Godin and Jose Gimenez hardly put a foot wrong in 90 minutes.

Atletico Madrid defender Godin showed class throughout, dealing with crosses into the box and executing a precise slide tackle on Hatan Bahbir in the first half. Tabarez has clearly built this Uruguay side on a solid foundation.

Team Performance:

Uruguay: Uruguay played their direct style of football and did not create enough good chances. When the opportunity came, a mistake from Al Owais and it just got easier for them.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia’s possession-based game did not do them enough as they failed to create good chances.

Viewer Rating: *

A much-improved display from Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side was not enough to overcome the first-half score, with neither side offering much in the way of vintage football, in a rather sluggish, low-intensity encounter – but Oscar Tabarez will be pleased enough with the result.

Match Implication: Saudi Arabia may be out of Russia 2018 but they still have one more game to play, against Egypt in Volgograd as the pair battle to avoid the wooden spoon in Group A. As for Uruguay, they will travel to Samara where they meet Russia in the battle to qualify top and supposedly receive a more favourable tie in the knockout stages against the runner-up of Group B.


Until then however, thank you for joining us – and have a good week!

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