Former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa secured his second competitive victory as the head coach of Uruguay early this morning. Following a successful start in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualification, where they defeated Chile but later suffered a 2-1 loss to Ecuador and a 2-2 draw against Colombia, Uruguay faced pressure in their recent match. The reason for this pressure was the visit of South American football powerhouse Brazil.
Brazil had remained unbeaten throughout their previous World Cup qualification campaign and had not experienced a defeat against Uruguay since 2001. Remarkably, this unbeaten streak spanned 37 matches and lasted for an impressive 22 years. Considering Uruguay’s historical successes, this statistic was quite remarkable.
In a remarkable turn of events, Bielsa managed to break this 22-year-long winless streak against Brazil in his very first attempt as Uruguay’s coach, with Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez playing a pivotal role. Nunez not only scored the opening goal shortly before halftime but also provided the assist for Nicolas de la Cruz to extend Uruguay’s lead. In a surprising twist, Uruguay limited Brazil to just two shots during the entire 90 minutes, none of which were on target.
Raphinha, Bielsa’s former star at Leeds, was absent from the match for the visiting team as he continued to recover from a hamstring injury. Following this significant victory, Bielsa and his team have now climbed to the second position in the qualification table after four matches, with only Argentina, who maintain a perfect record, ahead of them.