Chile 0 Uruguay 1: Cavani header snatches top spot in Group C

By Sacha Pisani 25 June 2019 312
Chile 0 Uruguay 1: Cavani header snatches top spot in Group C

Edinson Cavani scored a late winner as Uruguay snatched top spot from two-time reigning Copa America champions Chile in Group C with a 1-0 victory at the Maracana.

Chile were on track to progress to the quarter-finals as group winners with the match petering out for a draw until Cavani glanced a header past Gabriel Arias eight minutes from the end in Rio de Janeiro.

Cavani's header on Monday saw Uruguay leapfrog Chile and earn a quarter-final clash against Peru, with La Roja set to meet Colombia in the last eight.

Playing in front of a sea of red in Rio, Chile enjoyed more of the possession in the lively opening 45 minutes as Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez forced Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera into diving saves.

Uruguay – the first nation to play 200 Copa America matches – managed to get in behind Chile's defence via Luis Suarez, who rounded Arias, but he was forced to an acute angle and eventually closed down.

Martin Caceres then volleyed just wide of the post from a corner two minutes before half-time – set-pieces continuing to be Uruguay's most threatening option.

Oscar Tabarez – who became the first ever head coach to reach 200 games in charge of the same nation – and his counterpart made changes but both Uruguay and Chile looked disjointed in the second period.

Uruguay and Chile lacked creativity and penetration but there was no shortage of physicality, though Jose Gimenez cleared Paulo Diaz's goal-bound header off the line to deny La Roja with 20 minutes remaining.

And against the run of play, Uruguay stunned Chile as Cavani popped up and directed a Jonathan Rodriguez cross into the net in the 82nd minute.


What does it mean? Chile's task made difficult

La Roja only needed a point from their final group fixture to win the group but Cavani and Uruguay had other ideas. The result means Chile will now come up against Colombia, who posted a 100 per cent record in Group B, in their bid for a third successive title. Uruguay, meanwhile, face a Peru side that were routed 5-0 by Brazil.

Cavani steps up

Uruguay needed a hero in front of a pro-Chile crowd and Cavani stepped up. His late winner made the nation's passage to the semi-finals a little easier.

Chile fail to capitalise

The match felt like it was played in Chile, such was the sea of red in Rio. But the holders were unable to take advantage on the pitch – ending a run of three successive wins.

Key Opta Facts:

- Uruguay have managed to win more games against Chile than they have against any other nation in Copa America history, beating them in 19 of their 30 meetings in the competition.
- Cavani has scored 12 headed goals for Uruguay in all competitions, at least four more than any other player for La Celeste in this century (eight, Gimenez).
- Chile lost just for the second time in the last three Copa America tournaments (W10 D3 L2) – also a 2-1 loss against Argentina in the 2016 group stage.
- Suarez gave no successful passes to Cavani against Chile. Cavani scored the winner for Uruguay with the first pass he received from Rodriguez.

What's next?

Uruguay will take on Peru in Salvador on Saturday, while Chile are scheduled to play Colombia in Sao Paulo a day earlier.

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Sacha Pisani