Forlan thrilled by Uruguay milestone goal

Last Updated: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 13:00

Salvador: Diego Forlan said he had enjoyed a perfect evening after capping his record 100th international appearance with a goal that took Uruguay to the brink of the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

The 34-year-old arrowed a glorious left-foot shot into the top-left corner to earn his side a 2-1 win over Nigeria in their pivotal Group B encounter at Salvador`s Arena Fonte Nova on Thursday.

Uruguay must now better Nigeria`s result against world champions Spain when they tackle minnows Tahiti in their final group fixture on Sunday, and Forlan said he could not have scripted a better outcome.

"That was match number 100," he said after being awarded the man-of-the-match trophy at a post-game media conference.

"It was an important match for us in order to keep our chances of qualifying for the next round.

"I had an opportunity to score a goal and it was great, because the team had to win and we got the three points we needed. It was a lovely goal, and a lovely victory. Everything was good."

Oscar Tabarez said the secret to his side`s victory had been a more attacking approach in the second half, after he had seen a 19th-minute goal by skipper Diego Lugano -- set up by Forlan -- cancelled out by Nigeria`s Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi.

"At half-time, we decided we had to take the match where we have supremacy, and that meant the opposing half," said the Uruguay coach.

Uruguay`s 51st-minute winner saw Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani combine to tee up Forlan, and Tabarez said the goal was a fitting reward for the first player to reach the 100-cap mark for La Celeste.

"Diego Forlan is a man with a brilliant past and above anything, it has to do with his huge professionalism," said Tabarez.

"He`s a top striker -- the way he uses both feet, the way he handles the ball. He showcased his talents today, and that`s what`s taken him all the way to play in so many matches."

Despite Nigeria finding themselves in the unenviable position of needing to take a positive result from their final game with Spain, who enjoyed a tournament-record 10-0 win over Tahiti earlier on Thursday, coach Stephen Keshi said he had faith in his team.

"Of course we do have a chance," he told reporters.

"In 90 minutes, you can never tell. That`s why you call it a game. It lasts until the last minute. Anything can happen against Spain."

He also praised his young players for a spirited performance against Tabarez`s more experienced side, many of whom played in the squad that reached the 2010 World Cup semi-finals and won the 2011 Copa America.

"I`ve been impressed with what my boys did, considering the difference in experience between Uruguay`s team, which has been together for almost six years, whereas ours has been together for a year and a half," he said.

"So I hope we can sustain this performance and add a little bit of concentration and professionalism."

AFP



First Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 13:01

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