Uruguay leave it late to see off Mo Salah-less Egypt
A last-minute goal from central defender Jose Gimenez has given Uruguay a 1-0 win over Group A rivals Egypt.
Uruguay struggled up-front for the bulk of the match, with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani wasteful all afternoon, but Gimenez rose highest to head in a free-kick in the 89th minute,
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah could only make the bench after a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final last month, but Egypt defended well to keep the Uruguay attack at bay.
On paper, Uruguay have one of the strongest teams in the tournament but they struggled to make an impact and made it far too easy for the Egypt defence until Gimenez’s late header.
Egypt were solid defensively throughout the first half and Edinson Cavani failed to test goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy early on.
Luis Suarez disappointed the Uruguay fans throughout the match and turned the ball wide from a good position in the 17th minute.
His afternoon got even worse five minutes later when he somehow sent the ball wide from six yards out after the ball fell to him from a corner.
Matias Vecino then sent a long-range shot wide as Uruguay searched for an opener.
Egypt showed far more passion throughout the afternoon against what was, in truth, a Uruguay side that failed to live up to their potential. Captain Diego Godin was the only Uruguay player to impress with Suarez and Cavani both out of sorts up-front.
Suarez finally managed to get a shot on target at the start of the second half when he was set up by Cavani but El-Shenawy came out quickly to stop the shot.
Egypt rarely threatened themselves, with Salah remaining on the bench, but full-back Ahmed Fathy forced a good save from Fernando Muslera from 20 yards.
Another chance fell for Suarez 17 minutes from time when Cavani flicked the ball onto him in the left side of the area. But, again, El-Shenawy came out to smother the ball at his feet after Suarez failed to get the ball under control.
Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny had an opportunity with nine minutes remaining but his chipped shot went over from 16 yards.
With Uruguay’s next attack, Cavani forced a superb save from El-Shenawy when he burst through from the left but his strike was turned behind by the Egypt goalkeeper.
The corner was cleared but Uruguay continued their attack to force a second corner but the ball was cleared at the near post.
Another opportunity came when Fathy felled Cavani just outside the penalty area, and Uruguay had thought they had snatched the win but the PSG striker’s free-kick hammered off the post before the Egypt defence managed to clear.
They did snatch the win though just a minute later. A free-kick from the right by-line was directed towards Jose Gimenez who rose highest to head into the right side of the net.
The result puts Uruguay level on points with Russia, who beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 yesterday.