Point for Pellistri on World Cup debut

Thursday 24 November 2022 15:03

Facundo Pellistri made his World Cup finals bow in Uruguay's 0-0 draw with South Korea in Al Rayyan.

The Manchester United youngster, still to make his senior competitive debut for the club after arriving from Penarol in 2020, was selected in Diego Alonso's XI and produced a hard-working display in a tight affair.

Neither side was able to break the deadlock, with former Red Edinson Cavani coming off the bench in the second half but also kept quiet by the red-shirted defence.

Facundo Pellistri is clearly valued by coach Diego Alonso.

Pellistri started on the right-hand side of midfield but much of the 20-year-old's early work came helping out in defence, as he showed his diligence on a couple of occasions to mop things up in the full-back position.

Gradually growing into the contest, the winger delivered more of an attacking threat and intelligently headed across the box towards Darwin Nunez in the 20th minute but the Liverpool striker was muscled away from the inviting ball.

Our man hugged the touchline to provide width but was not heavily involved until the first half was drawing to a close, when his pass intended for Luis Suarez led to a corner, that was headed against the foot of a post by Uruguay skipper Diego Godin.

It remained nip and tuck after the interval, with the Asian side perhaps shading things, without going too close to breaking the deadlock.

Pellistri was disciplined in fulfilling his role and sprinted forward in hope of receiving a cut-back from Nunez, but the Liverpool forward opted to cross and it was cut out by keeper Kim Seung-gyu.

The United wide man had a new centre-forward to work with when former Red Edinson Cavani replaced Suarez in the 64th minute.

Facundo Pellistri gets away from South Korea skipper Son Heung-min.

In the 70th minute, with Uruguay enjoying a good spell, Facundo lost out to Son Heung-min but showed his tenacity to quickly win possession back with a tigerish tackle on the Tottenham star, who was winning his 105th cap for his country.

Our former Penarol prospect saw more and more of the ball as he was trusted as an outlet but, despite attempting some crosses into the danger zone, it was Nunez, coming in from the opposite flank, who managed a shot wide in the final 10 minutes.

After a couple of substitutions, Pellistri shifted to more of a full-back or wing-back's role for a spell, until ex-United defender Guillermo Varela took his place in the 88th minute. 

Both sides had chances to win it late on but Federico Valverde struck the outside of a post from long range with a blistering effort before, seconds later, Son lashed just wide from a promising position.

The other two nations in Group H, Portugal and Ghana, are kicking off at 16:00 GMT.

Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes are in the Portuguese ranks and will be desperate to make a positive start, with Bruno starting in midfield and Diogo on the bench.

Portugal are next in line for Uruguay, with the game taking place on Monday night.