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World Cup 2018: Uruguay 'break spell' as Salah watches from Egypt bench


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Updated  16/06/18  
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Veteran coach Oscar Tabarez said Uruguay “broke the spell” after they left it late to defeat an Egypt side shorn of Mohamed Salah 1-0 in their World Cup opener on Friday.
Defender Jose Gimenez was the unlikely 89th-minute match winner for Tabarez's men, who also struck a post late on through Edinson Cavani.
Uruguay's deserved last-gasp victory leaves them and Russia in early control in Group A after the hosts' 5-0 mauling of Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener on Thursday.
But it also stops the rot for Uruguay in World Cup opening games — the South Americans had not won their first match in the tournament since 1970.
A poor contest looked likely to end in stalemate but with Uruguay cranking up the pressure late on, Atletico Madrid's Gimenez rose to power a header into the top corner and break Egypt hearts.
Aside from Liverpool ace Salah failing to get off the bench with his shoulder injury, another major talking point was also off the pitch — large portions of empty seats in one main stand at the Yekaterinburg Arena were an embarrassing sight for FIFA and local organisers.
That was of no concern to Tabarez, the 71-year-old known back in Uruguay simply as “Maestro”.
“When the players came back from the (pre-game) warm-up normally we have a chat and we said to them, 'All of Uruguay wants the same as us -- to win this match, but you are the only ones who can make that happen.' “This is football and in terms of history, we broke the spell.
“We either die or we are killed. We need to keep fighting to progress. This victory will help but we can't make too much of it,” added Tabarez, whose side face the Saudis next.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani had a couple of half-chances for Uruguay in the first half, the best made by himself when he juggled the ball and lashed it on the volley, but it was deflected over.


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