It took nearly 90 minutes, but Uruguay finally got a goal and defeated a stubborn Egypt team, 1-0, in Ekaterinburg on Friday. A header off a free kick by defender Jose Maria Giminez was the difference after Uruguay’s bigger stars, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, squandered several chances.
Egypt played without its own star, Mohamed Salah, who was nursing a shoulder injury yet had been expected to play.
Jose Gimenez headed powerfully into the net in the 90th minute as he met Carlos Sanchez’s free-kick to give the South Americans a winning start in Russia.
Uruguay had been the better side as Luis Suarez had missed four chances and Edinson Cavani had hit the inside of a post with a 25-yard free-kick.
Salah, who scored 44 times for Liverpool this season, remained an unused substitute as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury sustained in last month’s Champions League final.
Without Salah, Egypt lacked a cutting edge and had looked on course to earn a point in their first match at a World Cup finals since 1990 before Gimenez’s late goal.
The result means Russia are top of Group A after their 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the tournament’s opening game on Thursday.