Forlan thrilled by Uruguay milestone goal
Updated: 2013-06-22 10:45
Diego Forlan said he had enjoyed a perfect evening after capping his record 100th international appearance with a goal that took Uruguay to the brink of the Confederations Cup semifinals.
The 34-year-old arrowed a glorious left-foot shot into the top-left corner to earn his side a 2-1 win over Nigeria in its pivotal Group B encounter at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova on Thursday.
Uruguay must now better Nigeria's result against world champion Spain when it tackles minnow Tahiti in its final group fixture on Sunday, and Forlan said he could not have scripted a better outcome.
Uruguay's Diego Forlan gestures as he celebrates after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup Group B soccer match against Nigeria at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador June 20, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
"It was an important match for us in order to keep our chances of qualifying for the next round.
"I had an opportunity to score a goal and it was great, because the team had to win and we got the three points we needed. It was a lovely goal, and a lovely victory. Everything was good."
Oscar Tabarez said the secret to his side's victory had been a more attacking approach in the second half, after he had seen a 19th-minute goal by skipper Diego Lugano - set up by Forlan - cancelled out by Nigeria's Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi.
"At half-time, we decided we had to take the match where we have supremacy, and that meant the opposing half," said the Uruguay coach.
Uruguay's 51st-minute winner saw Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani combine to tee up Forlan, and Tabarez said the goal was a fitting reward for the first player to reach the 100-cap mark for La Celeste.
"Diego Forlan is a man with a brilliant past and above anything, it has to do with his huge professionalism," said Tabarez.
"He's a top striker - the way he uses both feet, the way he handles the ball. He showcased his talents today, and that's what's taken him all the way to play in so many matches."
Despite Nigeria finding itself in the unenviable position of needing to take a positive result from its final game with Spain, who enjoyed a tournament-record 10-0 win over Tahiti earlier on Thursday, coach Stephen Keshi said he had faith in his team.
"Of course we do have a chance," he said. "In 90 minutes, you can never tell. That's why you call it a game. It lasts until the last minute. Anything can happen against Spain."