Edinson Cavani played all 90 minutes as Uruguay picked up their first point of the Copa America.
Uruguay came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Chile, in their second game of the tournament. They had opened with a 1-0 loss to Argentina.
Manchester United striker Cavani led the line for his country, looking to add to his international goal tally of 51.
While he did not get on the scoresheet, Cavani made sure the Chilean defenders did not have an easy night either.
Eduardo Vargas gave Chile the lead in the first half against the run of play from a Ben Brereton assist.
Uruguay equalised from a set piece in the second half when Luis Suarez netted from a corner, which may have gone down as an Arturo Vidal own goal.
Cavani had three shots in total, and managed to create two chances. He gave as good as he got, touching the ball 42 times, making six ball recoveries.
He was ultimately only as good as the service he was provided, and Uruguay found it tough to get him into space, and when he was, the ball didn’t break near him.
Cavani is just a joy to watch
If you were missing an Edinson Cavani fix after his strong end to the season for Manchester United, the Copa America is the place to get one.
This was not a vintage Cavani classic, but the striker’s performance bore all the hallmarks of what he does right when it clicks for him.
Cavani was constantly making smart diagonal runs between defenders, and offering a target for passers from deep or out wide.
When a teammate took a shot, Cavani was the one following it up, looking for a potential rebound. He puts the work in, and that is why he has been such a successful striker through his career.
And lets face it, at 34 he doesn’t have to work as hard as he does. He could just waltz around on his reputation and stalk the penalty box staticly waiting for chances to come to him. Instead he is always moving, trying to make things happen.
Cavani had a first half chance saved on the line by the goalkeeper when he headed a cross from close range. He probably should have scored it by his standards. In the second half he beat the offside trap to fire a shot narrowly wide from an angle.
But this is the life of a striker. Sometimes they all fall for you, and other times they don’t. Cavani worked hard to get the chances he did, and in his case usually he will score at least one from three attempts.
This was not Cavani’s best game, but when you have seen him hit near perfection like in his home and away ties against Roma, you can identify and recognise the smaller things he does with his movement and see that he just needs one thing to break his way and know he will be wheeling off doing his archer celebration seconds later.
The joy of watching Cavani from a neutral perspective in a game like this is you can just sit back and appreciate what he does, without the heartache if he doesn’t score, as opposed to when he’s playing for United. The veteran is still playing at an extremely high level and even if this Copa America does not end well for Uruguay, he has proved over the past few months that he is still one of the world’s most lethal strikers.
United are lucky to have him back for an extra year, and if his Copa America spell ends early, so be it. Cavani’s Uruguay will fancy their chances of a win in their next game though, when they face Bolivia on Thursday. With a point in this game, they are up and running. Ominously for their next opponents, it felt like Cavani is just getting warmed up.
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