Saudi Arabia avoided another embarrassing shellacking but lost to Uruguay, 1-0, Wednesday in Rostov, Russia. The result eliminated both Saudi Arabia and Egypt from the World Cup.
The Saudis had been whipped, 5-0, by host Russia in their opener but started more brightly here.
But in the 23rd minute, a Uruguay corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area, Saudi keeper Mohammed Al Owais missed it and it came right to Luis Suarez. He was not as well marked as he should have been, and he tapped it into the corner of the net fairly easily.
The goal took some of the fizz out of the game. The Saudis lacked the talent to create many chances, and Uruguay lacked the urgency. The result was some unappealing soccer.
Saudi Arabia will now turn to its final game against Egypt, another pointless team, to salvage something from this Cup.
Uruguay and Russia each have 6 points and will meet to determine the group winner on Monday. With just a pair of 1-0 wins over weakish opposition, Uruguay, the group favorite, may face a challenging opponent in the host nation, which has eight goals already.
Here’s how Uruguay beat Saudi Arabia:
90’: Last Gasp No Good for Saudia Arabia
A last-minute corner for Saudi Arabia, but substitute Kanno’s header is tame and easily saved.
87’: Shut. Down.
Uruguay is sitting back some now but springs Cavani on a counter. He outruns three defenders, and for a second he is free on goal, but he whiffs and the keeper arrives to shut the move down.
81’: Cavani Hit in the Head
Lucas Torreira’s hooking shot hits Cavani’s head in the box — possibly inadvertently? — and caroms off crazily. It goes just wide.
77’: Bahebri Out; Kanno In
That’s all for Hatan Bahebri, who missed a couple of opportunities for Saudi Arabia earlier. Mohamed Kanno checks in.
75’: Cavani Complains But Seems O.K.
A double roll by Cavani seeking a free kick call. Amazingly, when no call came, he jumped right up to complain, seemingly none the worse for wear.
73’: Desperation Setting In
The Saudis press forward with more men, desperate for a goal. At the moment they have only one official shot on goal, though, so it’s hard to see it happening.
63’: Cavani Keeps Trying
Cavani gets the ball in Saudi territory and stands over it forever unmolested. That gives Carlos Sanchez time to race into the box, and Cavani chips it to him. A real opportunity, but he knocks it barely over the bar.
59’: Yawning Yet?
If you’re not watching this game, you’re not missing much. After the Suarez goal, the Saudis lacked the talent to create chances, and Uruguay lacked the urgency.
51’: Suarez’s Free Kick is No Good
Free kick to Suarez from distance. It takes a weird bounce off the wall, and Al Owais has to go full extension to bat it away.
46’: Is This It for Saudia Arabia?
The second half kicks off with Saudi Arabia 45 minutes from elimination.
Halftime: Uruguay Has Lead and Momentum
Saudi Arabia started much better than in their opener, but the goal by Suarez took some of the fizz out of the game, and the Saudis haven’t really threatened since.
44’: Al Jassam Limps Off
A leg injury to Taiseer Al Jassam of Saudi Arabia. He limps off and will be replaced by Hussain Al Mogahwi.
34’: Saudia Arabia Takes Control
Saudi Arabia is controlling the ball a lot at midfield. But that doesn’t mean much; they did the same thing after falling behind against Russia. Uruguay is happy to sit back and close them down if they get too close to goal.
29’: Bahebri Misses Again
Another miss by Bahebri of Saudi Arabia, who slid into the box, but launched the ball high in the air.
27’: Good Effort by Saudia Arabia
Good response from Saudi Arabia, with Hatan Bahebri powering a shot from just outside the box and drawing a leaping hand-save.
23’: GOAL! Uruguay Leads 1-0
Uruguay takes the lead. A textbook goal: The corner came right to Suarez, he was not as well marked as he should have been, and he booted it fairly easily. Keeper Al Owais should have done better too.
13’: Cavani’s Shot Goes Astray
Edinson Cavani has space in the box for Uruguay, but his left-footed one-timer goes off in a crazy direction.
12’: Saudia Arabia Bouncing Back
Some good ball control by Saudi Arabia, who so far look a lot better than in their disastrous opener.
7’: Free Kick Doesn’t Pay Off
Saudi Arabia get a good free kick chance, but Mohammed Alburyak’s shot goes harmlessly off the wall.
3’: Suarez Blocked
Luis Suarez gets the first shot off for Uruguay, after a nice kick back by Bentancur, but it’s blocked.
Uruguay is in blue and Saudi Arabia in white. Uruguay is a big favorite to win today, and if it does, the qualifiers from Group A will be decided: Uruguay and Russia, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia eliminated. But if the Saudis can steal a draw, they will remain barely alive.
A Rough Start for Saudia Arabia
A tough World Cup for Saudi Arabia. First they lose 5-0. Then their plane caught fire during the flight to this game. No one hurt however.
Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia
• Uruguay’s Starting Lineup
1 Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray)
3 Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
2 Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid)
22 Martin Caceres (Lazio)
4 Guillermo Varela (Penarol)
15 Matias Vecino (Inter Milan)
6 Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus)
5 Carlos Sanchez (Monterrey)
7 Cristian Rodriguez (Penarol)
21 Edinson Cavani (Paris St Germain)
9 Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
• Saudia Arabia’s Starting Lineup
22 Mohammed Al Owais (Al Ahli)
13 Yasser Al Shahrani (Al Hilal)
6 Mohammed Alburyak (Al Hilal)
3 Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal)
4 Ali Albulayhi (Al Hilal)
14 Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal)
17 Taiseer Al Jassam (Al Ahli)
7 Salman Al Faraj (Al Hilal)
9 Hatan Bahebri (Al Shabab)
18 Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal)
19 Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad)