Manchester United duo Edinson Cavani and Facundo Pellistri played starring roles in helping Uruguay secure back-to-back World Cup qualifying wins.
After making his debut in the 1-0 win against Paraguay, Pellistri retained his place in the starting line-up against Venezuela, which was played in the early hours of this morning.
Following a 20-minute cameo against Paraguay, Cavani was back in the starting line-up alongside Luis Suarez for the clash against Venezuela, who sit bottom of the CONMEBOL qualification table.
Diego Alonso’s Uruguay side took the lead in the first minute against Venezuela.
Cavani’s cross was cleared, but it fell perfectly for Tottenham Hotspur’s new signing Rodrigo Bentancur who smashed home the opener from just inside the penalty area.
Pellistri and Cavani nearly combined for the two-time World Cup winner’s second, but United and Uruguay’s number 21 blazed his effort over the bar, following a headed knock down by his compatriot.
Then in the 23rd minute, Pellistri stole the show when he set off on a slaloming run, beating three defenders and then showing great composure to lay the ball on a plate for Giorgian De Arrascaeta, who doubled his nation’s lead.
The entire Uruguay side went to celebrate with Pellistri, who was wearing the number 11 shirt, to show their appreciation for his incredible footwork, close control and balance.
With half-time looming and Uruguay already two goals to the good, Cavani scored an acrobatic effort to put the game beyond doubt.
With the ball seemingly behind him, Cavani showed great athleticism to place an overhead kick into the empty net after the ball was scooped into the air.
Early in the second half, following a VAR check, Uruguay were awarded a penalty after the influential Pellistri was bundled over in the box.
Luis Suarez’s first effort was saved, but it was retaken after the Venezuela goalkeeper was adjudged to have left his line before the spot-kick was taken.
The Atletico Madrid made no mistakes with his second chance, putting the ball in the opposite corner and sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Cavani had the ball in the back of the net once again with a clinical finish to put Uruguay 5-0 up, but the goal was ruled out due to the 34-year-old being offside.
Josef Martinez scored a consolation for Venezuela in the 65th minute and two minutes later both Cavani and Pellistri were brought off.
The win moved Uruguay up to fourth place and into the automatic qualification places for the World Cup with two games remaining to be played in March.
Both Pellistri and Cavani posted on Instagram following the victory.
Cavani’s post translates: “Important step, keep fighting.”
Whereas Pellistri’s post read: “Let’s Go!! So proud to represent my country once again.
“I’m living a dream, and I’m going to remember it all my life. To be at home and with all of you accompanying is the most beautiful thing there is.
“Let’s go Uruguay! I’m going to have a good time with my friends.”
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