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Confederations Cup: Uruguay 8-0 Tahiti

Uruguay 8 (Hernandez 2, 24, 45+1, 67 pen, Perez 27, Lodeiro 61, Suarez, 82, 90)
Tahiti 0

Arena Pernambuco, Recife. Temp. 25°C, wind 10 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Pedro Proença (Portugal)

TEAMS

Uruguay: Silva, Scotti, Pereira A, Coates, Aguirregaray, Perez, Eguren, Gargano, Lodeiro, Ramirez (Suarez 69), Hernandez.
Tahiti: Meriel, Ludivion, Tehau J, Vallar, Simon, Tehau L (Atani 71), Caroine, Aitamai (Lemaire 53), Hnanyine (Tihoni 88), Vahirua, Chong-Hue.

It was an action packed ninety minutes at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife as Uruguay put eight goals past the hapless Tahiti to qualify for the semi finals of the 2013 Confederations Cup as Group B runners up. As well as the eight goals, there were two red cards and two penalties as the Portuguese referee was kept busy throughout. Tahiti return home with no points and a minus twenty three goal difference, but they have won plenty of friends and will always cherish the memory of the goal they scored in their opening game against Nigeria.

Going through the action in chronological order, it started with the first goal of the night for Palermo striker Abel Hernandez in only the second minute. Hernandez had been handed the chance to lead the line as Uruguay manager Oscar Washington Tabarez rested his first choice striking triumvirate of Cavani, Forlan and Suarez, and he certainly grabbed his chance to impress. He scored his second in the twenty fourth minute and sealed his hat-trick on the stroke of half time to make it four nil, with Diego Perez having grabbed the third in the twenty seventh minute.

It should have been 5-0 five minutes after the restart, but veteran Nacional defender Andres Scotti, who was charged with taking a penalty, saw his spot kick saved by Tahiti goalkeeper Gilbert Meriel, much to the delight of the twenty two thousand crowd. Things got worse for the centre-back a minute later when he picked up his second yellow card of the match and was dismissed by referee Pedro Proença. However, Tahiti were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage before they two were reduced to ten men when their defender Teheivarii Ludivion was sent off for his second booking.

Then the floodgates opened again – firstly Botafogo’s Nicolas Lodeiro scored to finally make it five nil and six minutes later Uruguay were awarded a second penalty, which Abel Hernandez dispatched to make it six and score his own fourth goal of the game. Things got even worse for Tahiti when Luis Suarez came off the bench and the striker was soon set up by Lodeiro to make it seven nil before adding the eighth in the final minute. His second goal took him one clear of Diego Forlan as Uruguay’s all time top scorer. Uruguay will now play the hosts, Brazil, in the first semi final in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday.

Related Links:
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Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Spain 3-0 Nigeria

Spain 3 (Jordi Alba 3, 88, Torres 62)
Nigeria 0
Castelão, Fortaleza. Temp. 27°C, wind 8 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)

TEAMS

Spain: Valdes, Ramos, Arbeloa, Pique, Jordi Alba, Fabregas (Silva 54), Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Soldado (Torres 60), Pedro (Villa 75).
Nigeria: Enyeama, Echiejile, Ambrose, Omeruo (Egwuekwe 11), Oboabona, Obi Mikel, Mba (Ogu 63), Ogude, Ideye, Akpala (Gambo 71), Musa.

Vicente del Bosque’s all conquering Spain team expectedly beat Nigeria to win Group B at the 2013 Confederations Cup with three wins from three and Fernando Torres moved clear at the top of the scorers chart with his fifth of the tournament. Nigeria looked promising at times but ultimately they didn’t have enough to qualify for the semi finals and will be going home to concentrate on the final round of the African World Cup qualifiers to try to make sure they can return to Brazil next year and use the experience they have gained from this competition.

Spain got off to a dream start by taking the lead in only the third minute when Jordi Alba finished off a fine run with a confident finish past Enyeama in the Nigeria goal. If there’s one team in the world who you don’t want to be chasing the game against for almost ninety minutes on a hot day it’s Spain, for they are masters at keeping possession, and the Nigerians knew they were facing an uphill struggle from that point on. With Uruguay winning in the other group match, Nigeria needed a big win to have a hope of going through and to their credit they had a go, taking the game to Spain and creating some chances, the best of which was when a shot from Jon Obi Mikel hit the bar. However, Spain were always a threat themselves and Fabregas also hit woodwork at the other end as half time approached.

We reached the hour mark with the score still at 1-0 to Spain and del Bosque introduced Fernando Torres to freshen up his attack in a bid to kill off any hopes of a Nigerian revival. The Chelsea striker duly delivered within two minutes of coming off the bench as he headed a Pedro cross past Enyeama to double the lead. From then on the result was never in doubt and Alba wrapped up the scoring two minutes from time with his own second of the game. Spain, as Group B winners, will now face Group A runners up Italy in the second semi final on Thursday.

Related Links:
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Nigerian Football
Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Mexico 2-1 Japan

Mexico 2 (Hernandez 54, 66)
Japan 1
(Okazaki 86)
Mineirão, Belo Horizonte. Temp. 26°C, wind 7 mph, scattered clouds. Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

TEAMS

Mexico: Ochoa, Torres Nilo, Moreno, Mier, Reyes, Guardado (Salcido 71), Torrado, Zavala, dos Santos (Barrera 78), Hernandez, Jimenez (Aquino 90).
Japan: Kawashima, Kurihara, Konno, Nagatomo (Nakamura 77), Sakai H (Uchida 58), Endo, Hosogai, Okazaki, Honda, Maeda (Yoshida 65), Kagawa.

Mexico prevailed in the battle for third place in Group A at the 2013 Confederations Cup with a hard fought 2-1 win over Japan, who end up pointless at the bottom of the group despite having played some attractive attacking football at the tournament. Things wouldn’t have had to have gone very differently for the Japanese to have reached the semi finals alongside Brazil as they dominated periods of the games against both Italy and Mexico and were unlucky to lose out by the odd goal on both occasions. However, their finishing and lack of a top class centre forward let them down on this occasion, where they came up against a Mexico side containing the prolific Javier Hernandez, who notched up his thirty fourth and thirty fifth goals in fifty three appearances for his country.

The closest either team came to breaking the deadlock before the interval was a disallowed goal from Japan in the ninth minute when Okazaki deflected an Endo shot into the corner from near the penalty spot, but was in an offside position, and a bullet header from Andres Guardado in the fortieth minute that beat Kawashima but struck the post. Hernandez opened the scoring eight minutes into the second half when he timed his run perfectly to ghost in at the near post and get his head on the end of a cross from Guardado on the left wing. His close range header flew into the net before Kawashima had time to react and Mexico finally had their first goal in open play of the tournament.

The man they call Chicharito repeated the trick twelve minutes later to score an almost identical header from practically the same spot, but this time he lost his marker at the far post from a dos Santos corner on the right to make it 2-0 to Mexico, proving yet against what an accomplished goal poacher he is. His movement off the ball makes him almost impossible to mark and his finishing rarely lets him down. It’s just a shame for Mexico they they currently rely so heavily on him for goals. Japan pushed hard to get back into the game in the last quarter of the match but didn’t get a breakthrough until the last five minutes when Shinji Okazaki got his second of the tournament. Their challenge should have been killed off in injury time when Mexico got a penalty but this time Hernandez wasn’t so clinical and Kawashima parried his spot kick. The Mexican striker was first to the rebound but he blasted his shot against the bar from point blank range. Hernandez was denied his hat-trick, but Mexico hung on for the win.

Related Links:
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Confederations Cup: Brazil 4-2 Italy

Brazil 4 (Dante 45+1, Neymar 55, Fred 66, 89)
Italy 2 (Giaccherini 51, Chiellini 71)
Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador. Temp. 27°C, wind 6 mph, scattered clouds. Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)

TEAMS

Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz (Dante 34), Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Hernanes, Oscar, Fred, Hulk (Fernando 76), Neymar (Bernard 69).
Italy: Buffon, Bonucci, Chiellini, Abate (Maggio 30), De Sciglio, Aquilani, Montolivo (Giaccherini 26), Marchisio, Candreva, Diamanti (El Shaarawy 72), Balotelli.

Brazil beat Italy 4-2 in an exciting final Group A game in Salvador to secure first place in the group, meaning that Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team will probably now avoid Spain in the semi finals. It was a scrappy first half, but the goals started to flow in the second period as both teams went for the win and Brazil eventually got the better of their opponents thanks to some fine attacking play and party due to some uncharacteristic sloppy goalkeeping from Gianluigi Buffon.

The first half was a scrappy stop-start affair littered with mistimed tackles in which there were four bookings and three players were forced off injured. Neither team managed to settle into their rhythm and there were no goals until stoppage time when a free kick from the Brazilian left found its way through to substitute Dante, who slotted home from beyond the far post. Dante, who had replaced the injured David Luiz just after the half hour mark, recorded his first goal for his country and it was a popular strike with the locals in the stadium as he hails from Salvador.

Italy found their way back into the game with a classic route one goal in the sixth minute of the second half when Buffon hit a long clearance upfield. It was headed on to Balotelli, who flicked it into space behind the Brazilian backline with an impudent backheel which set substitute Giaccherini free down the right. He took the ball into the box and made no mistake with a driven shot into the far side of the net before the covering defenders could get back to close him down.

However, Italy were only on level terms for four minutes as Neymar won and scored a free kick to keep up his record of having scored in every game so far in this tournament. It was a bit harsh on Italy as the striker appeared to run into Maggio’s leg rather than being tripped, but the free kick was struck spectacularly in to the far corner past a static Buffon, who ought to have done better. Italy came close with a free kick of their own from Balotelli, who shot powerfully towards the top corner from way out, but Julio Cesar was equal to it and a few minutes later Brazil broke to make it 3-1 through Fred.

There was much controversy surrounding Italy’s second of the game in the seventy first minute when Chiellini scored following Candreva’s corner. The referee blew for an apparent penalty for a foul on Balotelli at the same time as Chiellini hit his shot towards the far post but when the ball ended up in the back of the net, the Uzbek official changed his mind and awarded the goal rather than the spot kick. There hadn’t really been enough time between the whistle and goal for anyone to react and stop playing, but by the letter of the law it should have been a penalty to the Italians and protesting Brazilian players surrounded the referee, but in vain.

Italy came close to levelling the score with ten minutes remaining when Maggio got his head on the end of another Candreva corner from the right and sent the ball crashing into the crossbar with Julio Cesar well beaten. Having survived that scare, Brazil saw out the last few minutes and wrapped it up at the death when left back Marcelo broke through and tested Buffon with a low shot to the near post that the ageing goalkeeper could only push back into the path of the advancing Fred, who made no mistake with a simple tap in.

Related Links:
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Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Uruguay 2-1 Nigeria

Uruguay 2 (Lugano 19, Forlan 51)
Nigeria 1 (Obi Mikel 37)
Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador. Temp. 27°C, wind 6 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)

TEAMS

Uruguay: Muslera, Lugano, Pereira M, Caceres, Godin, Rodriguez (Pereira A. 88), Gonzalez, Arevalo, Suarez (Coates 83), Forlan, Cavani.
Nigeria: Enyeama, Echiejile, Ambrose, Omeruo, Oboabona, Obi Mikel, Ogu (Mba 66), Ogude, Oduamadi (Babatunde 45), Ideye (Akpala 73), Musa.

Oscar Washington Tabarez’ Uruguay team picked up their first points in the 2013 Confederations Cup with a 2-1 win over Nigeria in Salvador last night and gave themselves a great chance of progressing to the semi finals as long as they beat Tahiti in their final Group B fixture. Nigeria and Uruguay are now level on three points in the group standings, but the Nigerians face a tough final match against Spain and will probably need to win to have any chance of progressing in this tournament.

Malaga central defender Diego Lugano gave Uruguay the lead in the nineteenth minute with a scrappy goal following a corner, but the same player was unable to prevent Nigeria’s equaliser eighteen minutes later when he was beaten by Chelsea’s Jon Obi Mikel who made no mistake with his subsequent shot. It remained 1-1 until the interval but Nigeria were forced to start the second half without their hat-trick hero from the Tahiti match as Varese striker Nnamdi Oduamadi was forced off with an injury and replaced by Michel Babatunde.

Early in the second period Diego Forlan, who was winning his one hundredth cap for Uruguay at the age of thirty four, picked up a pass from Cavani and expertly shot past Enyeama in the Nigeria goal to make it 2-1 to Uruguay. La Celeste controlled much of the rest of the game and frustrated any attempts by Nigeria to get back on to level terms. They replaced striker Luis Suarez with his Liverpool team mate Sebastian Coates as they shut up shot late on in the match. The final round of matches in the group is on Sunday.

Related Links:
Uruguayan Football
Nigerian Football
Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Spain 10-0 Tahiti

Spain 10 (Torres 5, 33, 57, 78, Silva 31, 89, Villa 39, 49, 64, Mata 66)
Tahiti 0

Maracana, Rio de Janeiro. Temp. 25°C, wind 7 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria)

TEAMS

Spain: Reina, Ramos (Navas 46), Albiol, Monreal, Azpilicueta, Silva, Martinez, Cazorla (Iniesta 76), Torres, Villa, Mata (Fabregas 69).
Tahiti: Roche, Ludivon, Tehau J, Vallar, Lemaire (Vero 74), Bourebare (Tehau L 69), Tehau A (Tehau T), Caroine, Aitamai, Vahirua, Chong-Hue.

Spain effortlessly brushed aside Tahiti to record their second win in the 2013 Confederations Cup and register the highest winning margin in the competition history. It was a real mismatch and it went according to script for the Spanish although it took some time for the floodgates to open. In the end, Tahiti were completely outclassed but playing against the world champions in front of a large crowd at the Maracana was an experience never to forget.

Tahiti began as they did in their first match against Nigeria by falling behind in the fifth minute. Fernando Torres was the scorer with an assist by his Chelsea team mate Juan Mata. However, just as everyone was expecting the Pacific islanders to crumble, the deluge of goals failed to materialise and Tahiti managed twenty five minutes without conceding a goal. Spain’s attempts to boost their goal difference were repeatedly thwarted until David Silva got the second in the thirty first minute.

From two nil onwards the goals did start to come thick and fast. Fernando Torres got his second of the game two minutes later and David Villa opened his personal account for the season in the thirty ninth minute to make it four nil at the interval. He doubled his tally four minutes after the restart and the goals continued to come at regular intervals throughout the second half. Fernando Torres completed his hat-trick in the fifty seventh minute and David Villa followed suit seven minutes later following an unfortunate fumble by goalkeeper Mikael Roche. Juan Mata got in on the scoring act to make it 8-0 just two minutes later.

Tahiti did well to contain the scoring for a period following that goal and even survived a penalty after Aitamai handled a cross on the edge of the box. Torres struck the spot kick against the bar, but he wasn’t to be denied for long as he soon found himself one on one against the goalkeeper and kept his nerve to notch up his fourth of the night. It fell to David Silva to round off the rout in the final minute and bring the score up to double figures.

Nothing is mathematically certain in Group B yet, but it will be a surprise if Spain fail to qualify now that they have a plus eleven goal difference. They would need to lose very heavily to Nigeria in their final match and Uruguay to beat both Nigeria and Tahiti to be knocked out before the semi finals. Uruguay play Nigeria in the other Group B game in Salvador tonight.

Related Links:
Spanish Football
Tahitian Football
Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Italy 4-3 Japan

Italy 4 (De Rossi 41, Uchida o.g. 50, Balotelli pen. 52, Giovinco 86)
Japan 3
(Honda pen. 21, Kagawa 33, Okazaki 69)
Arena Pernambuco, Recife. Temp. 23°C, wind 2 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Diego Abal (Argentina)

TEAMS

Italy: Buffon, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Sciglio, De Rossi, Pirlo, Aquilani (Giovinco 30), Montolivo, Maggio (Abate 59), Giaccherini (Marchisio 68), Balotelli.
Japan: Kawashima, Konno, Uchida (Sakai H. 73), Yoshida, Nagatomo, Endo, Hasebe (Nakamura 90+1), Okazaki, Honda, Maeda (Havenaar 79), Kagawa.

It was a topsy turvy game between Italy and Japan in front of over forty thousand fans in Recife with Japan forging ahead before Italy pegged them back and took a lead of their own only for Japan to strike back and just when it looked set to end all square the Italians grabbed a dramatic late winner. The result puts Italy into the semi finals along with hosts Brazil and eliminates the Japanese as well as Mexico.

Japan were handed the chance to take the lead in the twentieth minute Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon brought down Shinji Okazaki inside the box. Buffon escaped with a yellow card, but he wasn’t able to save the resulting penalty from CSKA Moscow’s Keisuke Honda. Manchester United’s midfield maestro Shinji Kagawa doubled the lead some thirteen minutes later with a well executed left-foot volley from the edge of the box to leave the Italians up against it. However, they got themselves into the game shortly before half time through a set piece. Andrea Pirlo’s corner was converted by Daniele De Rossi with a powerful header.

Italy started the second half strongly and turned the game around with two goals in as many minutes. Firstly Atsuto Uchida put through his own net when failing to deal with a cross from Giaccherini and then Italy won a penalty of their own when Makoto Hasebe handled inside the area. Mario Balotelli once again showed his reliability from the spot in sending the goalkeeper the wrong way for his second goal of the tournament and to complete the turn around by giving Italy a 3-2 lead.

The game then quietened down for a while as Japan’s defence restored order following a tempestuous few minutes and they began to push forwards again in search of an equaliser. It eventually came in the sixty ninth minute when a free kick from Gamba Osaka’s Yasuhito Endo was headed in by Shinji Okazaki. Japan pushed hard for the winner in the final twenty minutes and went close on several occasions, hitting the woodwork twice as Italy started to rock once again, but in typical fashion it was the Italians who snatched the late winner against the run of play when Giovinco got on to the end of a cross from Marchisio to make it 4-3. There was still time for Japan to rally and they had a goal ruled out for offside in the final moments before the final whistle gave the relieved looking Italians their three points.

Six points from their opening two games puts Italy level with Brazil at the top of Group A so the only thing riding on their meeting in the final group game is who finishes in first and second place. Japan and Mexico are now both out of the competition with zero points from their opening games so their final match is now a dead rubber to decide who comes bottom of the group.

Related Links:
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Japanese Football
Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Brazil 2-0 Mexico

Brazil 2 (Neymar 9, Jo 90+3)
Mexico 0
Castelão, Fortaleza. Temp. 30°C, wind 18 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Howard Webb (England)

TEAMS

Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Oscar (Hernanes 62), Fred (Jo 82), Hulk (Lucas Moura 78), Neymar.
Mexico: Corona, Rodriguez, Torres Nilo (Barrera 70), Moreno, Flores (Herrera 58), Mier, Guardado, Torrado (Jimenez 88), Salcido, dos Santos, Hernandez.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil made it two wins from two in Confederations Cup Group A with a 2-0 win against Mexico, who once again failed to find a finishing touch to some accomplished approach play. Neymar was the star of the show and, ultimately, the difference between the two teams scoring one goal and creating the other.

Brazil started strongly with the backing of a passionate home crowd bedecked almost uniformly in yellow. They thought they had taken the lead as early as the fifth minute when Oscar had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside. However, they kept the Mexicans under pressure and did get the breakthrough a few minutes later when Dani Alves broke forward down the right and sent in a delicious cross that was flicked clear by a defender only to drop to Neymar on the edge of the box. The young forward expertly hit a powerful left-foot volley past Corona in the Mexican goal to make it 1-0.

Mexico’s defence continued to be stretched by Brazil’s speed on the break and it was almost 2-0 just before the quarter hour mark when Dani Alves again came forward and hit an inch perfect chip towards the far top corner but Corona managed to scramble back and finger tip it over the bar. That seemed to be the wake-up call for Jose Manuel de la Torre’s team as they gradually managed to get a grip on the game and enjoyed a few periods of possession, even creating some promising situations, without getting any clear cut chances. The closest they came was with a dos Santos free kick that flew just over the bar in first half stoppage time.

The second half began with another Brazilian ‘goal’ ruled out for offside but proceeded to be much tighter and less eventful than the first period. There were one or two half chances at both ends and Neymar went close again with a rasping shot from the left towards the near post but by and large Mexico competed on an even footing with their opponents and threatened at times to get back on level terms. In the end it was another piece of magic from Neymar that wrapped up the win for Brazil. He produced a fine dribble into the box, squeezing through an almost invisible gap between defenders before picking out substitute Jo arriving in the six yard box to lay on a simple tap in to make it 2-0 in the last minute of injury time.

Brazil now have six points from a possible six ahead of their final group game against Italy. Mexico have now suffered successive defeats in their opening two games and only have a slim chance of qualifying for the semi finals, They face Japan in their final group game, with the Japanese first taking on Italy in the other Group B game later on tonight.

Related Links:
Football in Brazil
Football in Mexico
Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Nigeria 6-1 Tahiti

Nigeria 6 (Echiejile 5, 80, Oduamadi 10, 26, 76, Tehau J. o.g. 68)
Tahiti 1
(Tehau J. 54)
Mineirao, Belo Horizonte. Temp. 25°C, wind 12 mph, partly sunny. Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)

TEAMS

Nigeria: Enyeama, Echiejile, Ambrose, Omeruo (Egwuekwe 74), Oboabona, Obi Mikel, Ogude, Oduamadi, Mba (Ogu 55), Ujah (Ideye 52), Musa.
Tahiti: Samin, Ludivion, Tehau J, Vallar (Faatiarau 54), Simon (Lemaire 78), Bourebare, Tehau A, Caroine, Aitamai, Vahirua (Atani 70), Chong-Hue.

Nigeria were comfortable winners against a plucky Tahiti side with Nnamdi Oduamadi plundering a hat-trick in their opening Group B encounter, but the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story as the Tahitians played their part in an open and attacking match. The Super Eagles were the beneficiaries of a couple of fortunate deflections in the box, but in truth, they should have scored several more.

If the Tahiti players were nervous ahead of their first competitive match on the world stage, they certainly didn’t show it in the opening few minutes and they received plenty of encouragement from the local supporters in Belo Horizonte with neutral fans vociferously supporting the minnows. However, they were brought down to earth with a bang in the fifth minute when a shot from Echiejile took a cruel double deflection and ended up in the back of their net.

Everybody loves an underdog, but Tahiti showed just why they are such underdogs at this level over the remainder of the half and Nigeria were in no mood to be generous as they raced in to a two goal lead. Striker Nnamdi Oduamadi of Varese notched up the second in only the tenth minute and fears mounted that Tahiti might be on the receiving end of a cricket score. They did weather the storm for the next quarter of an hour but their defence seemed disorganized and Nigeria continued to create good chances with alarming regularity.

In the end, the third goal was gifted to Nigeria when Tahiti goalkeeper Xavier Samin fumbled a bobbling cross from Musa and spilt the ball into the path of the advancing Oduamadi, who clinically dispatched the ball in to the empty net for his second goal of the game. Samin partly redeemed himself with a couple of fine saves before the interval and he earned loud cheers from the crowd each time he thwarted another Nigerian attack. It wasn’t exclusively one way traffic in the first half as Tahiti threw caution to the wind and pushed forward in numbers whenever they got the opportunity. They even won a corner, forced Enyeama into a couple of saves and produced a fine cross from the right that Steevy Chong-Hue couldn’t quite divert goalwards with his head.

The second half started in much the same vein with the Nigerians creating chances and Tahiti occasionally breaking. They forced another corner on one of their forays into the opposition half and then the unthinkable happened, they stunned and delighted the stadium in equal measure by actually scoring a goal! Jonathan Tehau ghosted in at the far post to head Vahirua’s corner into the Nigerian net from an acute angle and we were treated to a collective performance of their Polynesian canoeing goal celebration.

Nigeria seemed visibly rattled by the goal and their opponents grew in confidence as they realised that they were suddenly doing more than simply making up the numbers. Tahiti even had the better of the next ten minutes as the Nigerians recovered from the shock but then normal service resumed with Oduamadi thinking he had scored a hat-trick before his third goal was ruled out for offside and then the team’s fourth finally arriving in the sixty ninth minute thanks to another double deflection. Oduamadi put the ball into the six yard box and it ended up rolling into the net off the leg of Tahiti‘s goalscoring hero Jonathan Tehau.

Oduamadi did finally get his third on the break a few minutes later when he got ahead of the defence and on to the end of a low cross from Ideye on the right flank. The greater match fitness of the professional Nigerian squad was telling in the final stages against their mostly amateur opponents and they notched up their sixth a few minutes later when Echiejile pounced on a loose ball that had been pinging around in the box and buried it for his second of the game.

Nigeria will rue some wasteful finishing, especially if they end up going out of the competition on goal difference after their final group matches against Uruguay and Spain, but the evening will be remembered for Tahiti‘s historic goal and their spirited attacking performance that made this one of the more entertaining games of the 2013 Confederations cup so far.

Confederations Cup: Spain 2-1 Uruguay

Spain 2 (Pedro 20, Soldado 32)
Uruguay
(Suarez 88)
Arena Pernambuco, Recife. Temp. 26°C, wind 6mph, partly cloudy. Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)

TEAMS

Spain: Casillas, Ramos, Arbeloa, Pique, Alba, Fabregas (Cazorla 65), Iniesta, Xavi (Martinez 77), Busquets, Soldado, Pedro (Mata 81).
Uruguay: Muslera, Lugano, Pereira, Caceres, Godin, Perez (Forlan 69), Rodriguez, Gargano (Lodeiro 63), Ramirez (Gonzalez 46), Suarez, Cavani.

Spain put in a dominant performance that reminded the rest of the world of their class as they overcame a strongy Uruguay team with goals from Pedro and Roberto Soldado. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez got a late consolation goal for Uruguay to set up a tense last couple of minutes and make the outcome a bit closer than the balance of play suggested.

Spain had left their two main strikers from recent tournaments – David Villa and Fernando Torres – on the bench as they preferred to give Pedro and Soldado a chance to shine and they both made good use of the opportunity, showing what strength in depth there is within the Spain squad. Pedro was credited with the first goal in the twentieth minute, although his shot did take a significant deflection off Uruguay defender Diego Lugano, and Soldado was set up by Fabregas to double the lead twelve minutes laater. Fabregas, Pique and Iniesta all also came close to scoring in a first half in which Uruguay rarely threatened as the Spanish controlled the play and dominated possession of the ball.

Uruguay did improve after the interval and managed not to fall further behind as Spain slowed down in the heat of the evening, eventually bringing on Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez to shut up shop and replace Xavi in the 77th minute. It was a set piece that eventually allowed Suarez to get his name on the scoresheet. He beat Casillas with a free kick from thirty yards, but by then it was too little too late. Spain are now strong favorites to go on and win Group B but Uruguay will still be hopeful of progressing alongside them by beating Nigeria and Tahiti in their next two Confederations Cup matches.

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