Wales lost in the China Cup final as Edinson Cavani‘s goal secured victory for an impressive Uruguay side.
A frantic first half somehow ended goalless despite several chances at both ends, with Wales lucky not to be trailing at the break after Barcelona forward Luis Suarez twice hit the post.
The South Americans moved up a gear in the second half, and Cavani gave them a deserved lead with a tap-in.
Wales could not find an equaliser despite sub Lee Evans coming close.
They competed valiantly but the tempo deteriorated in the closing stages as new manager Ryan Giggs’ second match in charge ended in defeat.
The former captain had made the perfect start to his tenure with Thursday’s 6-0 hammering of China, in which Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick to become Wales’ leading goalscorer.
But if China seemed like simple cannon fodder, former World Cup and Copa America champions Uruguay were a different proposition altogether and were well worth their victory.
Giggs’ first real test
There was certainly a gulf in experience in the dugout as Giggs prepared for his second game as an international manager.
Having seen off a Chinese team managed by World Cup and Champions League-winning veteran Marcello Lippi, Giggs’ second managerial opponent was 71-year-old Oscar Tabarez, taking charge of his 185th Uruguay fixture.
This was a Uruguayan side he had carefully cultivated over a decade, and they imposed themselves on Wales with a purposeful display.
The game was barely two minutes old when they carved open their first chance, Nahitan Nandez pulling the ball back for Suarez, whose low shot struck the base of the post.
The former Liverpool forward then seized on sloppy Welsh defending, intercepting Ashley Williams’ risky backpass and rounding Wayne Hennessey but hitting the woodwork from an acute angle, claiming a penalty as he did so.
Although Andy King had two decent chances from long range and Sam Vokes had a half-volley saved, Wales were clinging on at times and, after falling behind to Cavani’s goal on his 100th Uruguay appearance, it was clear Giggs was facing the first real test of his reign.
His side struggled to contain Uruguay, whose attacking movement pulled the Welsh defence apart and gave Wales little time in possession.
Wales demonstrated plenty of spirit and, whenever the opportunities presented themselves, they pushed forward with second-half chances for King and substitute Evans.
As this was a friendly tournament, there was an emphasis on experimentation and, after handing a debut to Brentford defender Chris Mepham against China, Giggs gave another two to Swansea City full-back Connor Roberts and Preston striker Billy Bodin, son of former Wales defender Paul.
Giggs and his players had said before this match they were eager to win a first trophy outright for Wales since the 1937 British Home Championship and, despite the disappointing result, they will have learnt some valuable lessons against such experienced and accomplished opponents.