Suarez returns for Uruguay in 1-1 draw with Saudi Arabia
Luis Suarez made his first international appearance since being banned for biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup and played a part in Uruguay’s goal as they drew 1-1 with Saudi Arabia in a friendly on Friday.
Uruguay went ahead two minutes into the second half in Jeddah when a volley by Barcelona striker Suarez from Nicolas Lodeiro’s cross came back off the post, hit midfielder Hassan Fallatah and went in for an own goal.
Suarez, who came off after 69 minutes, was clearly delighted to be back in action and celebrated with an emotionally charged run towards the crowd.
“Happy to wear this shirt again which gives me so much joy. You never lose your love for the shirt. Uruguay!!” Suarez said on Twitter.
He might have scored a second goal for Uruguay but in a clear indication of his lack of match fitness he failed to beat the goalkeeper for speed in a one-on-one situation, had his shot parried and the ball was then cleared off the line.
Uruguay had goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to thank for keeping the home side at bay until the final minute when substitute Naif Hazazi headed a deserved equaliser at the end of a dominant second half from the Saudis.
That World Cup bite
Former Liverpool striker Suarez had last played for Uruguay in their third group match at the World Cup finals on June 24 in a 1-0 win during which he bit Chiellini on the shoulder.
Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini (left) during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 24, 2014. PHOTOS: AFP
The incident was missed by the referee but FIFA suspended Suarez for four months from all football activity and nine competitive internationals, the first of which he served when Uruguay lost to Colombia in their last-16 clash four days later.
Suarez has been allowed to play friendly matches after a partial reprieve to the conditions of his ban following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in August.
Uruguay play a second tour match on Monday against Oman, who lost 4-3 to Costa Rica on Friday.
He is expected to make his Barcelona debut in the El Clasico against Real Madrid in La Liga on Oct 26.
Suarez will miss the Copa America next year when Uruguay defend their continental title in Chile and his country’s first few qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia depending on how many matches they play at the Copa.