Saudi Arabia out of FIFA World Cup contention after 1-0 defeat to Uruguay

Web Desk/AFP: Rostov-on-Don, Russia: Star player Luiz Suarez eliminates Saudi Arabia from FIFA World Cup 2018 as he hit a fine header in his 100th international appearance with a goal as Uruguay took a 1-0 lead at the full-time over Saudi Arabia in their FIFA World Cup match at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on Wednesday.

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Striker Luis Suarez scored in the 23rd minute to put his side up 1-0 at Fulltime after a tepid start against Saudi Arabia in the Group A game at Rostov-on-Don.

Uruguay  qualified for the knockout stage, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament.

The South Americans take on the hosts in their final Group A match on June 25 with top spot on the line, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been eliminated after both suffered back-to-back defeats.

Russia and Uruguay will face one of the top two from Group B in the last 16 — either Portugal, Spain or Iran.

The 31-year-old Suarez, whose previous two World Cups both ended in bans after his infamous 2010 handball against Ghana and bite on Italy´s Giorgio Chiellini four years later, took advantage of a goalkeeping error by Mohammed Al-Owais to put Uruguay ahead midway through the first half.

Oscar Tabarez´s side missed plenty of opportunities to add further goals, but a toothless Saudi outfit never seriously looked like snatching a point.

Uruguay, semi-finalists eight years ago in South Africa, have now reached the knockout stage for the third straight time, while Saudi Arabia will try again in their search for a first World Cup win since 1994 in their final game against Mohamed Salah´s Egypt.

Suarez made a bright start, looking to make amends for his poor performance in the opening 1-0 win against Egypt, firing a left-footed volley from Cristian Rodriguez´s knockdown which was blocked by Ali Al-Bulayhi.

The Saudis managed to have plenty of early possession, although without looking overly threatening, only to gift Uruguay a 23rd-minute lead.

Al-Owais — winning only his second cap after replacing Abdullah Al-Muaiouf in goal — completely missed a floated Carlos Sanchez corner and Suarez tapped in his 52nd international goal unmarked at the back post.

That strike was Suarez´s sixth World Cup goal and made him the first Uruguayan to score in three separate finals.

Juan Antonio Pizzi´s Saudi Arabia continued to look far more assured on the ball than they did in the 5-0 drubbing by Russia on the opening day of the tournament, with Hatan Bahbri firing a wild volley over shortly after seeing a long-range effort tipped away by Fernando Muslera.

Uruguay began the second period with greater purpose, and Suarez came close to a second when Al-Owais palmed clear his low free-kick.

The three points and a last-16 spot should have been wrapped up just after the hour mark, but Sanchez headed over when unmarked at the back post from a wonderful Edinson Cavani cross.

The South Americans continued to be wasteful in front of goal, as Martin Caceres sent a header flying off target from the 33-year-old Sanchez´s free-kick.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani came close to emulating Suarez by scoring in a third World Cup, but his low shot was smothered by the onrushing Al-Owais.

Uruguay showed all their know-how and experience, though, as Atletico Madrid defensive pair Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin helped see out the closing moments with ease.

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