THE DAY REPLAYED – There were few goals but no shortage of goalmouth incident in yesterday’s two games in the 2011 Copa America, both of them in Group C and both played in Mendoza. Uruguay earned a draw with a well-organised Chile side in a game where the chances flowed at both ends, while the woodwork denied Peru a bigger margin of victory over Mexico. The day’s action left Chile top of the section, ahead of Peru on goal difference, with La Celeste two points behind in third.
From villain to provider
Chile played the football, but it was Uruguay who created the lion’s share of the chances in the day’s first game. Luis Suarez missed the best of them in the first half, one of the few blemishes on his fine display. Receiving a precise hooked pass from Martin Caceres inside the area, the unmarked Liverpool man contrived to blast over from eight yards out. Suarez redeemed himself eight minutes into the second half, however, playing the pass that allowed Alvaro Pereira to fire Uruguay into the lead.
Giovani goes it alone
Giovani dos Santos showed on 33 minutes of Mexico’s game with Peru why he is such a threat to opposing rearguards. Advancing at pace down the left, he left half the Peruvian side trailing in his wake before forcing a fine save from Salomon Libman.
No luck for Vargas
Juan Vargas struck the woodwork not once but twice against the Mexicans. Shortly after rattling Luis Michel left post at the end of a well-worked move 13 minutes into the second half, the Fiorentina man went agonisingly close again, striking the angle between post and crossbar with a free-kick. Team-mate Paolo Guerrero enjoyed better fortune eight minutes from time, tapping in at the far post to give Peru victory.
Jorge Valdivia (Chile)
Claudio Borghi’s decision to bring on the Palmeiras midfielder paid off after just four minutes, Valdivia playing the defence-splitting pass that led to Alexis Sanchez’s well-taken equaliser. “I’m not bothered about not getting a starting place,” the selfless Valdivia later said. “All I want to do is help my team, like I did today.”
Goal of the day
Uruguay-Chile, Alexis Sanchez 64
The man on the end of Jorge Valdivia’s exquisite through-ball was Jean Beausejour, who strode down the left flank before laying the ball into the path of the advancing Sanchez. The Barcelona target took a touch before stabbing an angled, right-footed shot wide of Fernando Muslera in the Uruguay goal.
18 - The age of Mexico’s Diego Reyes, the youngest player in the Copa America.
What they said
“It was game between two teams that really want to win the Copa America. I think we put in a good performance and our fate is in our own hands now. We’re going to have a look at how Mexico played against Chile and see how they do against Peru, and then fight for our place in the next round,” Uruguay forward Luis Suarez gives the verdict on his side’s draw with Chile.
The Copa America continues on today with two games in Group B. Anxious to improve after their stalemate against Venezuela, Brazil take on Paraguay in Cordoba, while La Vinotinto and Ecuador square off in the day’s other game in Salta. Goalless so far, will the section’s four teams finally conjure up a goal or two?