Lodeiro stakes claim for Uruguay berth against France

Rio de Janeiro, June 2 (IANS) Uruguay playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro pressed his claims for a place in Oscar Tabarez’s starting line-up for Wednesday’s international friendly against France by scoring twice in Botafogo’s 2-1 victory over Cruzeiro.

The 24-year-old struck either side of half-time at the Estadio Raulino de Oliveira in Volta Redonda Saturday as Botafogo moved to second in Brazil’s Serie A championship standings, reports Xinhua.

Lodeiro gave the hosts the lead in the sixth minute when he fired into an unguarded net after goalkeeper Fabio ventured out to block a Vitinho shot with his legs.

Anselmo Ramon equalised with an angled shot from the edge of the area that rebounded in off Renan’s shoulder after initially ricocheting off the goalkeeper’s right post.

Botafogo dominated the early stages of the second half and were rewarded when Lodeiro coolly converted a penalty after Nilton brought down Lucas in the area.

After the match Lodeiro admitted he had asked the team’s designated penalty-taker, Clarence Seedorf, for permission to take the spot-kick.

“I’m feeling really confident,” Lodeiro said. “I asked if I could take it and he (Seedorf) let me,” the former Ajax midfielder said.

Lodeiro will meet with his Uruguay teammates in Montevideo Monday ahead of the clash with France at the Centenario stadium.

Tabarez’s squad will then travel to Venezuela for a World Cup qualifier in Puerto Ordaz June 11, before taking part in the Confederations Cup in Brazil starting June 15.

“I will go to Uruguay with the sensation of having fulfilled my duty,” Lodeiro said. “It was important to win this match and now it will be up to the other guys to continue in this form.”

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