Friday, October 7, 2016

Cavani goal ends Venezuela's hopes early in the second half

Uruguay have stayed on top of the South American World Cup qualification group. The two-time World Champions beat Venezuela 3-0 at home last night. 

Matchwinner Edinson Cavani (Photo:
The Estadio Centenario crowd did not believe their eyes early on when they saw the visiting Venezuela have the better of the match during the opening stages. Throughout eight matches in the CONMEBOL qualification group, Rafael Dudamel's team just managed to win two points, therefore still waiting for their first victory. On the other end, there was Uruguay, unbeaten at home while not conceding a single goal yet. 

Venezuela was particularly strong over the left side, with 19-year old Udinese winger Adalberto Peñaranda and Mikel Villanueva. More often than not, in left right-back Mathias Corujo in trouble and the visitors with good chances. The best of them saw Peñaranda through on an empty net following Fernando Muslera's strange trip outside of the area. Peñaranda put it wide. After another shot from the agile Salomón Rondón went wide as well, Uruguay started to gain a little more control. 

After losing many easy balls through bad passes, it were Sebastián Coates and Diego Godín in particular that managed to step up at the back and lead their team by example. What it led to pretty quickly was the opening goal for Uruguay. Carlos Sánchez switched sides magnificently and found Luis Suárez on the left wing. The Barcelona striker pulled back a fantastic cross into the centre of the penalty area and found the head of Nicólas Lodeiro who left Dani Hernández no chance (29'). Uruguay had a surprising lead and went to halftime with it. 

The start of the second half could not have gone worse for Venezuela. After the likely motivational speech and encouraging words from coach Dudamel, it took few seconds for the game to be over. Sánchez' high ball led to a battle in the air between the so far quiet Edinson Cavani and Wilker Angel. None of them could win it, but Cavani was first to second ball and banged it home with a great finish to the bottom far side corner. This second goal was Venezuela's breaking point, as they could not recover from it throughout the second half. 

From bad to worse, they even fell down to ten men after Oswaldo Vizcarrondo was sent off for a second yellow card just past the hour mark. The numerical advantage led to even more Uruguayan domination and Óscar Tabárez' men should have added to their goal total through substitute Matías Vecino or Sánchez. 

When they did after 79 minutes, it was the best goal of the night for the home team, beautifully crafted by several players. A long pass with the outside of the foot found the decent Sánchez on the right wing again. He crossed it low into the middle, where Suárez backheeled it on towards Cavani. El Matador did not have to be asked twice for goal number two and the victory. 

Here are the highlights:


Venezuela had the chances to take something from this game early on, but did not take it. When Uruguay started gaining confidence, it was over for the visitors who rightly stay at just two points. They have to improve their efficiency to be able to get anywhere in the future, despite their without a doubt talented young team. 

The Celeste deserved their victory after a great second half and still have not conceded a single goal at the Centenario: 3-0 vs Colombia, 3-0 vs Chile, 1-0 vs Peru, 4-0 vs Paraguay and now the next clean sheet.

Uruguay remain first in the group, now with a massive seven point gap to sixth-place Paraguay. This relieves some pressure before the important visit to Colombia on Tuesday. Venezuela host Brazil later the same night. 


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