Edinson Cavani scored twice as Uruguay shattered Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup dream with a 2-1 victory over Portugal on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani curled home a superb 62nd-minute winner to settle a thrilling second round duel in Sochi which sends Uruguay into a quarter-final against France next Friday.
Cavani had already put Uruguay in front early on, only for Pepe to head Portugal level in the 55th minute in a thrilling contest that was not the battle of attrition many predicted.
Here, we analyse the performance of the star man Cavani.
Goals – 2
Assists – 0
Shots – 3
Shots on target – 2
Touches – 31
Aerials won – 2
Dribbles – 1
Dispossessed – 2
It’s a rare sight to see deadly duos operate as a side’s spearhead in modern football given the near extinction of 4-4-2, but seeing Cavani wheeling away in celebration is far from unfamiliar as both he and Luis Suarez synchronised superbly to knock out Portugal.
Their telepathic understanding created the opener, a testament to the pair’s elite talent but beyond the skill, their will deeply impressed as the two worked tirelessly all night.
Cavani was the best player on the pitch, though, dropping back to make a midfield five and getting through so much work to cut out Portugal’s options out wide.
While his first goal was an awkward finish, the second was clean and clinical and one hopes the injury which forced him off shortly after isn’t too serious.
Work rate – Put aside the goals for a moment because Cavani put in an immense shift. For such a world-class talent his work rate is phenomenal. To balance an ego and confidence in front of goal with the ability to tirelessly help out his teammates is a unique marriage of attributes.
Finishing – No surprise really given he extracted two goals from three shots. He’s a sharpshooter and arriving in Russia with 38 goals in all competitions he’s carried that form into the tournament.
Master of movement – Cavani is such an underrated striker. His anticipation, timing and angle of runs deserve to be marvelled at. He’s constantly on the move and young strikers should study this master of movement.
7th min GOAL: The dynamic duo deliver a devastating one-two as Cavani pings a precise ball out to Suarez on the left wing, the Barcelona man tears to the right-hand post and then delivers a cracking cross. Cavani pulls off his man and awkwardly connects with his throat but the ball squirms home. They deserved their fortune for the build-up alone.
13th min GREAT PLAY: Cavani is absolutely everywhere and he presses the Portugal defence into submission, throttles the ball away from them and then immediately plays in Suarez who is outnumbered in the box and is forced to settle for a corner.
62nd min GOAL: In a World Cup containing an abundance of stunning strikes, Cavani just adds another with a peach of a first-time finish for his second. Pepe charges out and misses his header, Rodrigo Bentancur profits, it’s three versus four. Cavani drifts wide and Bentancur shifts it to him on the left as he caresses the ball into the opposite corner.
72nd min SUB: This is really unfortunate. Cavani is forced to come off as he clutches his calf. Ronaldo rather sportingly helps him off the pitch and the striker misses out on his hat-trick as he’s replaced by Cristhian Stuani.
His hold up play was excellent, he dropped deep and made tackles, pressed and bullied then produced the goods in front of goal.
A complete forward’s performance and you’re unlikely to see a better all-round display from a forward in Russia.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
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