Uruguay could not make use of their firepower up front as they produced one of the goalless football results of the midweek action in the World Cup. Heung-Min Son, who recently suffered a fractured eye socket, was able to start for South Korea, and Darwin Nunez, a former and present Liverpool forward, lined up alongside Luis Suarez for the South American team. Despite a competitive match in Qatar, none of these forwards were able to make the breakthrough. As Uruguay gears up to take on Portugal next and South Korea to face Ghana, it leaves both teams’ chances of making it to the round of 16 quite open.
Although South Korea started the game with a lot of offensive purpose and effort, they lacked a sharp edge in front of the net. Ui-Jo Hwang was given space in the box by Moon-Hwan Kim after 34 minutes, but he could only shoot over the crossbar. This was their finest opportunity of the first half. Just before halftime, Diego Godin leaped highest at a corner and could have given Uruguay the lead, but his header hit the post and bounced clear. As the game drew to a close, Uruguay once again came near. Federico Valverde’s ferocious shot from well beyond the box struck the outside of the woodwork, and then Son went up the other end and swung just wide from distance.
At the Education City Stadium, a number of Premier League stars were on display, but Facundo Pellistri’s name stood out on the squad rosters. The winger, who is 20 years old and has yet to play in a Manchester United senior match, was given a start and his eighth cap by Uruguay head coach Diego Alonso. Pellistri, who played 88 minutes in a front three with Nunez and Suarez, was occasionally animated but ultimately struggled to make much of an effect. It will be intriguing to see if Alonso continues to use him in the upcoming game or perhaps switches to Edinson Cavani’s expertise.
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