Luis Suarez became Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer with two versus Tahiti to book a place in the last four of the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The want-away Liverpool striker climbed off the bench to score twice in the final 10 minutes and take his tally for his country to 35, one more than team-mate Diego Forlan, in a comfortable 8-0 victory for the South Americans.
Both sides had a man sent off but the night belonged to the 26-year-old Suarez and to Uruguay, who will now meet hosts Brazil on Wednesday.
Tabarez made 11 changes to the side that beat Nigeria, as Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Forlan had to contend with places on the bench, while Tahiti’s starting line-up included four new faces from the selection that lost 10-0 to Spain on Thursday.
It was one-way traffic from the very beginning and Uruguay had a 4-0 lead by half-time, with Palermo striker Abel Hernandez scoring a hat-trick and Diego Perez adding the other.
The South Americans continued to dominate after the break, and even Andres Scotti’s missed a penalty and subsequent dismissal could not halt them, as Hernandez, Nicolas Lodeiro and Suarez added the other goals.
There was no expectation that Tahiti would offer any resistance against the CONMEBOL champions and Tabarez’s men had the lead inside the second minute as Scotti flicked on Lodeiro’s in-swinging corner and Hernandez nodded it in at the far post.
Uruguay continued to dominate but had to wait until midway through the half to double their advantage. Lodeiro lofted a pass over the Tahitian defence and Hernandez fired into the goal after flicking the ball over a covering defender.
Within three minutes they had an even more comfortable cushion as defensive midfielder Perez took a rare opportunity to trudge forward and he headed Alvaro Pereira’s left-wing cross against the far post before tapping in the rebound from close range.
Tahiti kept it tight at the back until the dying moments of the half, but Hernandez completed his hat-trick with seconds left as he collected Walter Gargano’s pass into the left side of the area before finding the bottom far corner with an exquisite finish using the outside of his boot.
The second half followed a familiar pattern as Uruguay dictated the tempo, monopolising possession against the minnows, but Tahiti soon had a reason to cheer as goalkeeper Gilbert Meriel saved Scotti’s penalty after Matias Aguirregaray was brought down.
Scotti’s night got even worse a few moments later as the 37-year-old picked up his second yellow card of the match for tripping Steevy Chong-Hue just outside the area, but Tahiti’s numerical advantage did not last long as Teheivarii Ludivon followed the Uruguayan just shy of the hour mark for his second bookable offence.
Uruguay added a fifth goal through Lodeiro in the 61st minute as the Atletico Mineiro star tapped in Gargano’s low cross from the left, while Hernandez scored his fourth six minutes later, burying a penalty after Chong-Hue pushed Aguirregaray to the floor on the byline.
With three points and progression to the semi-finals effectively confirmed, Uruguay began to look a little disinterested at times, but Suarez’s introduction from the bench soon injected some life back into their attack.
The controversial star spurned a glorious opportunity soon after coming on but quickly made amends as he turned Nicolas Vallar inside out before slipping a calm finish into the bottom corner.
That drew him level with Forlan’s national record and in the final minute he surpassed that milestone with a cool finish from the edge of the box.
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