Wales 0 Uruguay 1: Ton-up Cavani settles China Cup final

In a game billed as Gareth Bale versus Luis Suarez, Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay China Cup glory against Wales.

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani   -  Twitter (@Uruguay)

Edinson Cavani marked his 100th cap for Uruguay by scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Wales in the China Cup final.

Much of the local pre-match attention was focused upon the duel between Real Madrid's Gareth Bale and Barcelona's Luis Suarez lining up in opposing attacks, but Cavani proved the difference maker with his 42nd international goal.

Suarez hit both posts during an absorbing and open first half, leaving his long-time international strike partner Cavani to settle matters in the 49th minute with a far simpler finish than his spectacular semi-final overhead kick against Czech Republic.

Bale and Wales, who thrashed hosts China 6-0 to book a spot in the final of the invitational tournament, were unable to muster a response as their second outing with Ryan Giggs as manager became a little ragged after half-time.

An early injury to Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez proved the only setback for Uruguay and their veteran boss Oscar Tabarez, who open their World Cup campaign against Egypt on June 15.

Bale and Suarez shared a warm embrace in the tunnel beforehand and the latter superstar almost gave Uruguay a second-minute lead when he fired Nahitan Nandez's cut-back against the base of the left post from 10 yards.

Wales also asked early questions, with Sam Vokes sweeping Harry Wilson's teasing cross into Fernando Muslera's grateful arms.

Using Bale's cross-field balls proved a fruitful ploy for Giggs' men initially but he erred in the 14th minute and, from the resulting Uruguay attack, Cavani was unable to apply the decisive touch to Suarez's inviting cross.

There was another let-off for Wales after the half hour when Suarez seized upon a woeful back-pass from Ashley Williams and rounded goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. The right-hand post denied him on this occasion.

Hennessey then pushed over a rasping hit from Cavani, who headed wide from the resulting corner.

It was far from one-way traffic, with Muslera forced to palm Andy King's sweetly struck 25-yarder to safety before an even better stop kept out Bale's glancing header from Wilson's free-kick in first-half stoppage time.

Uruguay found the breakthrough in simple and clinical fashion, punishing their opponents' lacklustre resumption after half-time.

Wales' defence was caught out by Diego Godin's lofted pass in behind for Cristian Rodriguez, whose low cross left Cavani with a routine finish.

A similarly straightforward chance should have seen Cavani put the result beyond doubt four minutes later, but the Paris Saint-Germain star misjudged a centre with a touch more pace from Guillermo Varela.

Suarez fired home from a Cavani lay-off before the hour, only to be correctly flagged offside, and although Wales' defence was increasingly cut open at will, they still carried a threat in attack.

Muslera was relieved to see King's deflected drive squirm wide in the 73rd minute as he stood rooted to the spot following probing work from Bale, who would ultimately find no way of adding to his semi-final hat-trick.


Key Opta facts:

- Wales have won one of their 16 matches against South American opponents in their history, a 1-0 win over Brazil in September 1991 under the management of Terry Yorath; they have drawn four and lost 11 of their other matches.
- Uruguay have lost just one of their last eight international matches (W4 D3), keeping clean sheets in both China Cup games.
- Ashley Williams made his 78th international appearance for Wales – he is now level with Craig Bellamy – the only outfield players to have more caps are Gary Speed (85) and Chris Gunter (87).
- Edinson Cavani has scored in four of his last five games for Uruguay – netting exactly once on each occasion.

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