Luis Suarez went on as a substitute in his first match since returning to Nacional, but could not help his Uruguayan club avoid a 1-0 home loss to Brazil’s Atletico Goianiense on Tuesday in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana quarterfinals.
The 35-year-old Suárez joined Nacional after his contract with Atletico Madrid expired in the hope of remaining fit enough to play for Uruguay at the World Cup, which kicks off in November.
Luiz Fernando scored the only goal of the match in Montevideo in the 23rd minute.
Nacional almost equalized near fulltime after a play by Suárez on the left flank put Juan Ignacio Ramirez in a good position to finish, but the ball hit the post, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The return leg will be played next Tuesday in Goiânia, in Brazil’s heartland.
Winning the Copa Sudamericana, the second most prestigious club tournament in South American soccer, is a key objective for Suárez and his club.
Suárez’s previous stint with Nacional was in 2005-06.
He also played with a lot of success for Ajax, Liverpool, and Barcelona during his time in European soccer.
The veteran striker has scored 68 goals in 132 matches for the national team. Uruguay is in Group H at the World Cup along with Portugal, Ghana, and South Korea.
Another South American soccer star had his debut for Brazil’s Flamengo in the Copa Libertadores. Arturo Vidal of Chile went on as a substitute in the 73rd minute of his team’s 2-0 win at Corinthians in the quarterfinals of the region’s top club tournament.
The 35-year-old Vidal had already played for Flamengo in the Brazilian championship after joining from Inter Milan on a free transfer earlier this month.
The second leg between the two Brazilian teams will be played in Rio de Janeiro next Tuesday.