With a brace from Nicolás de la Cruz and the same from Federico Valverde, the team of Uruguay expired this Friday 3-1 To chili in the debut of both teams in the South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup. Goals from De la Cruz and Valverde were responsible for Marcelo Bielsa’s side sealing victory in the Argentine’s first official game on the Celeste bench, which is now a must-attend visit You Ecuador. Meanwhile, Montevideo’s historic Centenario Stadium was once again a strength for Uruguay, who have historically won 28 of the 30 points they put on the line against Chile in qualifying.
In the opening minutes, La Celeste shifted its game to the right sector, relying on the speed of Facundo Pellistri, while Chile tried to create danger with long balls for attacker Ben Brereton Díaz. However, the first two goals of a game in which the fans’ first ovation went to the historic team came from the left Diego Godín, honored before the start of the Uruguayan Football Association.
A great move between Maximiliano Araújo and Darwin Núñez in the 38th minute resulted in La Celeste’s first goal after the latter provided a great assist to the midfielder From the crossthe goalkeeper Bryan Cortés defeated and made it 1-0.
Eight minutes later and with Chile still unable to respond to the first blow, a powerful long-range shot rang out Fede Valverde The opposing goalkeeper had no other choice and it was the second goal. In this way, Uruguay reflected on the scoreboard the dominance it exercised in the first half, in which Núñez created the first two dangerous situations before 15 minutes and Chile came closer with a long-range shot from Marcelino Núñez. Liverpool’s English striker was one of Uruguay’s standout players, where Valverde, Manuel Ugarte and De la Cruz played at a high level and took over the midfield.
At the start of the second half, the local team came closer with two new shots from Núñez and another from Pellistri, which went just wide of the goal. And after continuing to dominate the game, La Celeste scored their third goal in the 72nd minute after a great counterattack led by Fede Valverde and finished with a goal From the cross after a new assist from Núñez.
Chile didn’t give up and scored a goal 120 seconds later Arturo Vidal, who used a rebound off the post to make the final score 3-1. The midfielder, highlighted by Fede Valverde in the previous game, added minutes from the bench and was one of the standouts for a team that was unable to count on historic goalscorer Alexis Sánchez due to injury.
In the 95th minute, Argentine Darío Herrera marked the end of the game and the fans in the Centenario celebrated Uruguay’s 3-1 victory. In this way, La Celeste started qualifying as league leaders together with Argentina and Colombia, who were also victorious.
Next up, Uruguay will visit Ecuador while Chile hosts Colombia in Santiago. In addition, the Bolivia-Argentina, Venezuela-Paraguay and Peru-Brazil games will be played.
3. Uruguay: Sergio Rochet; Nahitan Nández (m.85, Bruno Méndez), Sebastián Cáceres, Matías Viña, Joaquín Piquerez; Federico Valverde, Manuel Ugarte, Nicolás de la Cruz (d. 85, Felipe Carballo); Facundo Pellistri (M.70, Brian Rodríguez), Darwin Núñez (M.72, Maximiliano Gómez) and Maximiliano Araújo. Coach: Marcelo Bielsa.
1.Chile: Bryan Cortes; Nayel Mehssatou Sepúlveda (m.65, Juan Delgado), Gary Medel, Guillermo Maripán, Gabriel Suazo; Diego Valdés, Erick Pulgar, Charles Aránguiz (65 years old, Arturo Vidal), Marcelino Núñez (89 years old, Rodrigo Echeverría); Alexander Aravena (d. 81, Darío Osorio) and Benjamin Brereton Díaz. Coach: Eduardo Berizzo.
Goals: 1-0: m.38, Nicolás de la Cruz. 2-0: m.46, Federico Valderde. 3-0: 72nd minute, Nicolás de la Cruz. 3-1: m.74, Arturo Vidal.
referee: The Argentinian Darío Herrera. He reprimanded Charles Aránguiz, Gary Medel, Nayel Mehssatou Sepúlveda, Juan Delgado, Diego Valdés, Manuel Ugarte and Matías Viña.
incidents: Match corresponding to the first day of South American qualification for the 2026 World Cup, to be played at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo.