Darwin Nunez scored his third goal in as many games for Uruguay, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side inflicted a first defeat for Argentina since they won the World Cup.
With Bielsa in charge, Uruguay are transformed, with the legendary manager instilling an aggression and tenacity to complement a talented new generation.
Nunez is central to this, with the 24-year-old taking the mantle from Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani as his country’s lead attacking threat.
Having worked one-to-one with Bielsa – as well as, of course, Jurgen Klopp – Nunez has been in emphatic form this season.
In five games under his new manager, he has scored three and assisted three, with his latest goal a stunning strike on the counter as Uruguay beat Argentina 2-0.
Argentina went into Thursday’s World Cup qualifier unbeaten since lifting the World Cup in Qatar, with eight consecutive wins in 2023.
Uruguay showed their intent early on, with Nunez racing off the shoulder of Nicolas Otamendi and onto a lofted ball from Ronald Araujo, only to fire just wide of the far post.
And though Argentina dominated possession (63 percent) and fired twice as many shots on goal (12 to six), Uruguay made it count late on.
With Lionel Messi dispossessed on the edge of the box, Jose Gimenez laid it off to Nicolas de la Cruz, who threaded a ball through for the onrushing Nunez.
Darwin Nunez for club ? and country ?? this season.
? 22 games
?? 10 goals
?? 9 assists
? 66.3 mins per G/A
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) November 17, 2023
Nunez’s run began inside his own half, picking up the ball near the halfway line and surging towards goal, faking a shot and then firing low beyond Emi Martinez to make it 2-0.
It was a finish he has clearly worked on – as shown in the 2-1 comeback at Newcastle in August – and though it didn’t quite come off in the first half, it did this time around.
A historic win at La Bombonera, Uruguay have now beaten Brazil and Argentina in the same World Cup qualifying round for the first time ever.
Nunez played a telling role in both – having scored one and assisted the other in the 2-0 win over Brazil, and now netting in a 2-0 victory over Argentina.