A first-half brace from Edinson Cavani lifted Uruguay to a 3-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago in their international friendly in Montevideo on Friday.
In the absence of injured Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, Cavani scored once from the penalty spot and another from close range to inspire Uruguay to victory in the Copa America Centenario warmup clash at Estadio Centenario.
The brace also meant the Paris Saint-Germain striker – fresh off winning another domestic treble in France – moved above Hector Scarone into third in the all-time scorers list for Uruguay with 32 goals from 81 appearances.
Fiorentina midfielder Matias Vecino rounded off the result early in the second half, after Uruguay was forced to come from behind following Jomal Williams’ early opener for Trinidad and Tobago.
The contest was Uruguay’s only warmup game for the upcoming Copa America Centenario in the United States, where the side will face Mexico, Venezuela and Jamaica in Group C.
Uruguay came out of the blocks firing and took the lead inside just two minutes courtesy of a superb Carlos Sanchez strike, but the Monterrey winger – who missed his side’s Liga MX final to play in the friendly fixture – was incorrectly ruled offside.
However, Trinidad and Tobago tmanaged to take a surprise lead just five minutes later.
Shahdon Winchester won a challenge against Mauricio Victorino, and the forward played in Williams whose first-time shot was clinical, beating goalkeeper Martin Silva.
The goal rattled the home side, and it was not until the 25th minute that Uruguay found a way back into the game when Nicolas Lodeiro intercepted Sanchez’s curling shot, before winning a penalty following Weslie John’s foul in the area.
Cavani stood up to dispatch the spot kick in emphatic fashion, smashing it straight down the middle of the goal.
Sanchez came close to scoring directly from a corner, but Trinidad and Tobago keeper Marvin Phillip produced a brilliant save to deny the embarrassment.
However, just six minutes later, his good work came undone as Cavani was on hand to slot home a rebound after Phillip mistimed his attempt to punch the ball clear.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez decided to make three changes at the break, taking off the attacking trio of Cavani, Lodeiro and Sanchez for Cristhian Stuani, Gaston Ramirez and Matias Corujo.
Bordeaux forward Diego Rolan remained on the pitch and the 23-year-old set up Matias Vecino for his first international goal and Uruguay’s third in the 52nd minute with a close-range tap in.
Uruguay continued to threaten throughout the second half and launched several dangerous attacks, with Ramirez going closest with a brilliantly executed volley, but the Trinidad and Tobago defense held firm to keep the score line at a respectable margin.
South American giant Uruguay opens its Copa America campaign against Mexico on June 5, before facing Venezuela (June 9) and Jamaica (June 13) as the side searches for a record 16th title.
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