Forlan lifts Uruguay past Nigeria
SALVADOR, Brazil (AP)
Diego Lugano and Diego Forlan scored to help Uruguay defeat Nigeria 2-1 in Salvador to keep their Confederations Cup hopes alive.
Forlan's decisive goal came in the 51st minute with a sweetly struck left-footed drive as he finished off a swift counterattack. The play involved all three of the South American champion's forwards, starting with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.
Malaga defender Diego Lugano put Uruguay ahead in the 19th minute following a cross from Forlan. Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel equalized for Nigeria in the 37th.
Uruguay and Nigeria each have three points in Group B, but Uruguay will be expected to win its next match against underdog Tahiti, while Nigeria faces World Cup champion Spain.
John Obi Mikel's scored Nigeria's lone against Uruguay on Thursday night (Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images).
Spain, which routed Tahiti 10-0 earlier Thursday, leads the group with six points, while Tahiti is last with none.
Nigeria opened the tournament by beating Tahiti 6-1, while Spain beat Uruguay 2-1.
At the Arena Fonte Nova on a warm and humid evening, the sparse crowd supported Nigeria, or rather rooted against Brazil's southern neighbor.
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The 34-year-old Forlan won the Golden Ball trophy as the best player at the 2010 World Cup when Uruguay finished fourth. He rekindled some of that form in this match.
For the opening goal, Forlan crossed toward the center of the area and Cavani fooled Nigeria's defense 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. He passed 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.