UAE 1-2 Uruguay
by Zarif Rasul
United Arab Emirates 1-2 Uruguay
London 2012 Olympic Games
5pm, Thursday 26 July 2012
Live on BBC2
Uruguay’s bid to claim their third Olympic football gold medal is on track after they came from behind to record a 2-1 win against United Arab Emirates at Old Trafford.
Ismaiel Matar gave UAE a deserved lead after 22 minutes, but goals from Gaston Ramirez and Nicolas Lodeiro either side of half-time allowed Uruguay to claim top spot in Group A.
Uruguay, the 2011 Copa America winners, started the game as overwhelming favourites, but they were comprehensively outplayed early on by UAE, who took the lead midway through the first half.
Omar Abdulrahman, by far and away the most impressive performer in the opening exchanges, released a sublime defence-splitting pass and found Ismaiel Matar, who confidently skipped past goalkeeper Martin Campana and slotted into an empty net.
Matar spurned a terrific opportunity to extend his side’s lead in the 39th minute when he latched onto Abdulrahman’s cross, but his unmarked header brushed the sidenetting, much to the relief of the Uruguayan defence.
And just three minutes later, Bologna playmaker Ramirez levelled the score in spectacular fashion.
Luis Suarez was felled 25 yards from goal and from the resulting free-kick Ramirez stepped up and curled the ball over the wall and past the despairing reach of UAE goalkeeper Ali Khaseif.
Midfielder Lodeiro was introduced at the interval, and the former Ajax man put Uruguay in front eleven minutes later, slamming home from a tight angle after good work down the left-hand side from Suarez.