Uruguay finished top of Group A with three wins from three as they beat 10-man Russia 3-0 at the Samara Arena on Monday, with the host nation also qualifying for the round of 16.
Uruguay 3 Russia 0
Suarez (10′) opens scoring with free-kick
Laxalt shot goes in off Cheryshev (23′)
Smolnikov (36′) sent off for two yellows
Cavani (90′) caps off convincing win
Oscar Tabarez’s side needed just 23 minutes to take hold of proceedings as Luis Suarez broke the deadlock from a direct free-kick early on, before Denis Cheryshev deflected Diego Laxalt’s shot past his own goalkeeper midway through the first half.
Igor Smolnikov received his marching orders on 36 minutes for two bookable offences to take the fight out of Sbornaya, who conceded a late third goal to Edinson Cavani.
Uruguay quickly settled into a passing rhythm and space opened up for Matias Vecino in the second minute, but his ambitious shot from 30 yards out rolled harmlessly wide of the left post.
They were presented with a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 10th minute from a free-kick on the edge of the box, and Suarez didn’t disappoint as he picked out the bottom-right corner of the net after finding space to the right of the wall.
Russia almost equalised two minutes later when Artem Dzyuba’s knockdown picked out Cheryshev, whose first-time volley from 18 yards out was saved by Fernando Muslera.
Dzyuba then went close on 17 minutes as he directed a header into the ground and over the crossbar from a corner, only for La Celeste to double their lead through fortuitous circumstances six minutes later.
Laxalt’s shot from 22 yards out looked to be going wide, but it took a big deflection off Cheryshev and beat a diving Igor Akinfeev at his near post.
Akinfeev was alert to the danger on 28 minutes when he denied Rodrigo Bentancur after the midfielder played a one-two with Suarez to advance into the area, and the ball was cleared before Cavani could pounce on the rebound.
Sbornaya suffered another setback in the 36th minute with the dismissal of Smolnikov for a second yellow card. The latter booking was fair enough, but the right-back can count himself unlucky with his first caution, which seemed harsh to say the least.
The South Americans didn’t make much use of the extra man in the second half, though, as they struggled to open Russia up.
Cavani skewed an effort well wide of the right post from the edge of the box on 69 minutes, while a rare opening for Stanislav Cherchesov’s men four minutes later saw Dzyuba also miss the target by some margin from 16 yards out on the right.
Substitute Cristian Rodriguez looked determined to get his name on the scoresheet in the closing stages, with his first strike from 25 yards out causing problems for Akinfeev eight minutes from time, while his second attempt from 19 yards out had to be tipped over by the Russian keeper.
The Uruguayans scored from the resulting corner, however, as Cavani slotted home from close range after Diego Godin’s initial header had been parried by Akinfeev.
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