Diego Forlan marked his 100th cap with a stunning second-half winner in Salvador as Uruguay beat Nigeria 2-1 in the Confederations Cup.
Diego Lugano had given Uruguay a scrappy first-half lead from close range, only for Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi to bring Nigeria level with a brilliantly taken goal shortly before the interval before Forlan’s winner.
As Nigeria pressed for a second, Uruguay raced away on the counter attack and the former Manchester United striker thumped home a thunderous left-foot winner from 16 yards after a fluid break that involved Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.
The result ends Nigeria’s 18-match unbeaten run, stretching back to May 2012, and leaves the Africa Cup of Nations champions facing a tough task in their final Group B match with Spain. The world and European champions top the group with six points, while Nigeria and Uruguay are level on three points.
The field the battle raged on with both teams knowing the importance of victory to their chances of progressing to the semi-finals.
Nigeria had looked grateful that they had only had to overcome Tahiti in their first match of the tournament after a disrupted build-up. But Uruguay was an entirely different proposition with Suarez, Cavani and Forlan forming a formidable frontline, albeit in an ageing team.
Nigeria’s fragile confidence had been rocked but Stephen Keshi has built a squad that is nothing if not resilient and they responded in a way few inside the ground had expected. Uwa Echiejile found Brown Ideye, who in turn slipped the ball to Mikel, some 20 yards from goal.
The Chelsea midfielder skipped beyond the static Lugano and steered a rising left-foot shot beyond Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and high into the top left-hand corner of the net.
But from nowhere, Uruguay’s trio of attacking talent clicked into gear. Suarez and Cavani combined to set Forlan racing free down the left of the penalty area and from there he thumped a rasping left-foot shot that was beyond Enyema before he knew it.
Super Eagle’s coach Stephen Keshi said: “I think my players played well and played to instructions. It was just one minute’s lack of concentration that made the difference. Otherwise it was good.”