Diego Forlan on target for Uruguans at Cup

TALES AZZONI
Last updated 12:51 21/06/2013
Diego Forlan
Reuters
HAPPY HUNDRED: Diego Forlan was on the score-sheet for Uruguay.

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Diego Forlan celebrated his 100th appearance for Uruguay in style, setting up one goal then scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory over Nigeria on Thursday (local time) to move his team within sight of the Confederations Cup semifinals. 

Forlan's decisive goal came in the 51st minute with a sweetly-struck left-footed drive, when he finished off a swift counterattack that involved all three of the South American champion's forwards, starting with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Malaga defender Diego Lugano put Uruguay ahead on 19 minutes following a cross from Forlan but Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel equalised for Nigeria before half time.

Uruguay and Nigeria are level with three points each in Group B but Uruguay will be expected to win their next match against underdogs Tahiti while Nigeria face World Cup holders Spain. 

The Spanish, who routed Tahiti 10-0 earlier on Thursday, lead the group with a full six points, while Tahiti are last on zero. 

At the Arena Fonte Nova on a warm and humid evening, the sparse crowd supported Nigeria, or rather rooted against Brazil's southern neighbour Uruguay. 

The 34-year-old Forlan won the Golden Ball trophy as the best player at the 2010 World Cup when Uruguay finished fourth and he rekindled some of that form in this match. 

For the opening goal, Forlan crossed toward the centre of the area and Edinson Cavani fooled Nigeria's defence by letting the ball pass through his legs to the waiting Lugano, who slotted it in from close range. 

However, Lugano struggled at the other end and Mikel dribbled by him to launch a powerful shot into the top of the net to draw Nigeria level. Suarez started off the action that led to the winner by taking the ball near midfield and then passed it across to Cavani who flicked it on to Forlan for an angled shot inside the area. 

It was Forlan's 34th goal for Uruguay, moving him one ahead of Suarez into the squad's all-time lead. 

Nigeria opened the tournament by beating Tahiti 6-1 while Spain beat Uruguay 2-1. 

In the final round of group matches on Sunday (local time), Nigeria face Spain in Fortaleza and Uruguay meet Tahiti in Recife. 

Nigeria, who nearly didn't show up at the tournament after players threatened a strike last week over bonuses, risk going home early.

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- AP

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