China Cup - Final
Wales0Uruguay1

China Cup final: Wales 0-1 Uruguay

Gareth Bale attempts a shot
Gareth Bale failed to add to his semi-final hat-trick against China

Wales lost in the China Cup final as Edinson Cavani's goal secured victory for an impressive Uruguay side.

A frantic first half somehow ended goalless despite several chances at both ends, with Wales lucky not to be trailing at the break after Barcelona forward Luis Suarez twice hit the post.

The South Americans moved up a gear in the second half, and Cavani gave them a deserved lead with a tap-in.

Wales could not find an equaliser despite sub Lee Evans coming close.

They competed valiantly but the tempo deteriorated in the closing stages as new manager Ryan Giggs' second match in charge ended in defeat.

The former captain had made the perfect start to his tenure with Thursday's 6-0 hammering of China, in which Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick to become Wales' leading goalscorer.

But if China seemed like simple cannon fodder, former World Cup and Copa America champions Uruguay were a different proposition altogether and were well worth their victory.

Giggs' first real test

There was certainly a gulf in experience in the dugout as Giggs prepared for his second game as an international manager.

Having seen off a Chinese team managed by World Cup and Champions League-winning veteran Marcello Lippi, Giggs' second managerial opponent was 71-year-old Oscar Tabarez, taking charge of his 185th Uruguay fixture.

This was a Uruguayan side he had carefully cultivated over a decade, and they imposed themselves on Wales with a purposeful display.

The game was barely two minutes old when they carved open their first chance, Nahitan Nandez pulling the ball back for Suarez, whose low shot struck the base of the post.

The former Liverpool forward then seized on sloppy Welsh defending, intercepting Ashley Williams' risky backpass and rounding Wayne Hennessey but hitting the woodwork from an acute angle, claiming a penalty as he did so.

Although Andy King had two decent chances from long range and Sam Vokes had a half-volley saved, Wales were clinging on at times and, after falling behind to Cavani's goal on his 100th Uruguay appearance, it was clear Giggs was facing the first real test of his reign.

His side struggled to contain Uruguay, whose attacking movement pulled the Welsh defence apart and gave Wales little time in possession.

Wales demonstrated plenty of spirit and, whenever the opportunities presented themselves, they pushed forward with second-half chances for King and substitute Evans.

As this was a friendly tournament, there was an emphasis on experimentation and, after handing a debut to Brentford defender Chris Mepham against China, Giggs gave another two to Swansea City full-back Connor Roberts and Preston striker Billy Bodin, son of former Wales defender Paul.

Giggs and his players had said before this match they were eager to win a first trophy outright for Wales since the 1937 British Home Championship and, despite the disappointing result, they will have learnt some valuable lessons against such experienced and accomplished opponents.

Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani has scored 42 goals for Uruguay in 100 appearances for his country

Cavani wins the clash of the superstars

After a low-key third-place play-off in which the Czech Republic beat China 4-1, the crowd size and sense of anticipation grew significantly for the final the tournament organisers will have hoped for.

Uruguay boast one of the most fearsome attacking partnerships in international football, Barcelona's Suarez and Cavani of Paris St-Germain, who both scored in Friday's win over the Czechs to take their personal tallies of goals for Uruguay to 50 and 41 respectively.

Even with their formidable reputations, however, the local fanfare for those two paled into insignificance compared to the adulation the Chinese supporters showed Bale.

The Real Madrid forward had been worshipped everywhere he went in China, mobbed by fans on his arrival at Nanning Airport last Tuesday and cheered by the home crowd every time he touched the ball during Wales' victory over the hosts.

There was further exaltation for him on this occasion, though it was Bale's 'El Clasico' rival Suarez who looked the most dangerous player on the pitch early on, while Cavani also showed a flicker of his threat with a powerful 20-yard effort tipped over the bar by Hennessey.

Suarez and Cavani combined intelligently on several occasions, creating space for each other and their team-mates with their movement and slick link-up play.

It was no surprise, therefore, that it was Cavani who scored the winner.

After the Welsh defence had been opened up by a long ball over the top, Cristian Rodriguez raced into the penalty area and squared the ball to Cavani, who had the simple task of tapping into an empty net from a couple of yards.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Cristian Rodriguez. Recalled to win his 102nd cap, the midfielder produced a composed performance to help Uruguay dictate the tempo of the game.

Line-ups

Wales

  • 1Hennessey
  • 5ChesterSubstituted forLockyerat 75'minutes
  • 6Williams
  • 4DaviesSubstituted forHedgesat 90'minutes
  • 2GunterSubstituted forMatthewsat 79'minutes
  • 7AllenBooked at 28mins
  • 8King
  • 14JohnSubstituted forRobertsat 59'minutes
  • 11Bale
  • 16WilsonSubstituted forEvansat 72'minutes
  • 9VokesSubstituted forBodinat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Matthews
  • 10Bradshaw
  • 12Maxwell
  • 13Bodin
  • 15Evans
  • 17Watkins
  • 18Mepham
  • 19Roberts
  • 20Hedges
  • 21Crowe
  • 22Woodburn
  • 23Lockyer

Uruguay

  • 1Muslera
  • 4Varela
  • 2GiménezSubstituted forCoatesat 8'minutes
  • 3Godín
  • 17Laxalt
  • 8NándezSubstituted forStuaniat 85'minutes
  • 6BentancurSubstituted forG Silvaat 78'minutes
  • 15Vecino
  • 7RodríguezSubstituted forTorreiraat 70'minutes
  • 9Suárez
  • 21CavaniSubstituted forGómezat 90+3'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Sánchez
  • 10de Arrascaeta
  • 11Stuani
  • 12Campaña
  • 13G Silva
  • 14Torreira
  • 16Pereira Páez
  • 18Gómez
  • 19Coates
  • 20Ramírez
  • 23M Silva
Referee:
Salman Ahmad Flahi
Attendance:
41,016

Match Stats

Home TeamWalesAway TeamUruguay
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home15
Away11
Shots on Target
Home7
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home9
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Wales 0, Uruguay 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wales 0, Uruguay 1.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Diego Laxalt.

Substitution

Substitution, Uruguay. Maxi Gómez replaces Edinson Cavani.

Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Billy Bodin (Wales).

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Ryan Hedges replaces Ben Davies.

Cristhian Stuani (Uruguay) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Connor Roberts (Wales).

Substitution

Substitution, Uruguay. Cristhian Stuani replaces Nahitan Nández.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Sebastián Coates.

Attempt missed. Lee Evans (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Lucas Torreira (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gareth Bale (Wales).

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Adam Matthews replaces Chris Gunter.

Attempt saved. Tom Lockyer (Wales) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Lee Evans with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Uruguay. Gastón Silva replaces Rodrigo Bentancur because of an injury.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Lucas Torreira.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Tom Lockyer replaces James Chester.

Foul by Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay).

Billy Bodin (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Lee Evans (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Diego Godín.

Attempt blocked. Andy King (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Gareth Bale.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Lee Evans replaces Harry Wilson.

Lucas Torreira (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Billy Bodin (Wales).

Substitution

Substitution, Uruguay. Lucas Torreira replaces Cristian Rodríguez.

Foul by Nahitan Nández (Uruguay).

Ben Davies (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Billy Bodin replaces Sam Vokes.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Diego Godín.

Attempt missed. Ben Davies (Wales) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Harry Wilson with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Matías Vecino.

Attempt blocked. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Matías Vecino (Uruguay).

Harry Wilson (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Matías Vecino (Uruguay).

Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Connor Roberts replaces Declan John.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 26th March 2018

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