THE DAY REPLAYED – An injury-time own goal gave Chile the narrowest of wins over Peru and top spot in Group C of the 2011 Copa America, while group favourites Uruguay made sure of second place with another 1-0 win against Mexico.
Waiting for La Celeste in the quarter-finals next Saturday are hosts Argentina, with the Chileans facing a possible tie against the mighty Brazil, should Neymar and Co finish second in Group B. Peru will also go through as one of the two best third-placed teams.
Chile 1-0 Peru
Uruguay 1-0 Mexico
We’ll support you ever more
Goalless in nine games, Diego Forlan could not have asked for more encouragement from Uruguay’s loyal fans during the game with Mexico. The banks of Celeste supporters at La Plata’s Estadio Ciudad applauded the blond-haired striker’s every move and gave him a heartfelt ovation when he was substituted. Forlan came close to breaking his barren run on several occasions, never more so than in the 18th minute of the second half, when he shot narrowly over from distance. And though it was not to be his day, the adidas Golden Ball winner at South Africa 2010 could be pleased with his contribution.
Then there were ten
The biggest talking point of Chile’s meeting with Peru, aside from Andre Carrillo’s late own goal, was a mass argument between the teams, triggered by a heavy Christian Ramos challenge, for which the player was booked. When the dust settled, further cards, red this time, were waved at Peru’s Giancarlo Carmona and Chile’s Jean Beausejour.
Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Though he was unable to end his own goal drought, the Uruguay No10 did everything he could to get his team-mates on the scoresheet against Mexico, setting up Luis Suarez time and again with his precise passes. And Forlan it was who sent in the free-kick that led to left-back Alvaro Pereira bundling home the only goal of the night 14 minutes in.
Goal of the day
Chile-Peru, Andre Carrillo '90
The match seemed destined for a goalless draw when a fine move involving Jorge Valdivia, Alexis Sanchez and Humberto Suazo earned Chile a corner a minute into stoppage time. And when the ball was swung into the box, Peru forward Andre Carrillo did what the Roja strike force had tried and failed to do throughout the game, inadvertently turning the ball into the net to score the first own goal of the competition.
79 - The number of caps Diego Forlan has now won with Uruguay. In taking the field against Mexico, the Atletico Madrid striker equalled the record number of appearances set by Rodolfo Rodriguez, Uruguay’s legendary centre-forward and captain of the 1970s and 80s. Forlan is close to setting another national record: having struck 29 goals in the Celeste shirt, he is just two behind the national team’s all-time leading goalscorer Hector Scarone.
What they said
“We kept on trying and trying and we got there at the end of the second half. We were looking for the goal all the way through the game, we looked for it harder than they did and we got our reward in the end. It took its time in coming because Peru are a very useful team. It eventually came, though, and it ensured we went through in first place,” Chile forward Humberto Suazo
All eyes will be on Group B on Wednesday, when Brazil top the bill as they go in search of their opening win, against Ecuador in Cordoba. The Brazilians need to take something from the game or they will go out of the tournament. In Salta, meanwhile, surprise section leaders Venezuela take on Paraguay with their sights set on winning the group.