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Uruguay strolled past the thus-far battling team of the tournament, Peru, to book their place in the Copa America Final on Sunday. A second half brace from Luis Suarez propelled them to a win and they now have the chance to eclipse Argentina as the Tournament's undisputed record holders, being currently tied with the Argentinians on 14 crowns as CONMEBOL's finest.
The teams had shared a 1-1 draw at the Group Stage of the competition, however, Uruguay started the semi-final in typically boisterous fashion, controlling the tempo of the match, outlining their attacking intent and forcing Peru onto the back foot for much of the opening period. In the early running, the front pairing of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez piled the pressure onto the Peruvians before Alvaro Pereira had a goal ruled out for offside. Goalkeeper Raul Fernandez had to be on his toes to intervene often as Peru somehow managed to head into half-time on level terms. Uruguay could have been in the ascendency by the end of the first half, but for Suarez blazing over from a Diego Lugano prod-on courtesy a Diego Forlan free kick. Perreira then shinned an awesome chance straight at Fernandez from close range. Peru posed just the solitary threat in the first period as much against the run of play, Fiorentina winger Juan Manuel Vargas' cross went just out of reach of the front men.
Uruguay would have gone into the break as the nervier of the two sides, not managing to take even one of their several plum chances after taking the game to Peru. La Celeste though, came out of the break completely rejuvenated and did not have to wait long to get the breakthrough. Suarez proved to be 'Johnny on the spot' as Fernandez fumbled Forlan's long-distance drive and the Liverpool striker was on hand to give the 2010 World Cup semi-finalists further impetus to enforce their control on the game. Five minutes later and Suarez added a second as he rounded Fernandez, after running onto a hopeful long ball, and secured a two-goal advantage for Uruguay.
Any chance of a Peru comeback then suffered a heavy blow in the 68th-minute when they went down to 10 men. La Rojiblanca's star performer of the tournament, Vargas, was shown a straight red card for deliberately elbowing Coates into the face inches from the referee, giving clear illustration as to why his Fiorentina mates have christened him â€œThe madmanâ€.
Peru almost pulled a goal back when Nestor Fernando Muslera had to desperately scramble to get to a loose ball after he had mishandled a fierce drive from Jose Paolo Guerrero. But Uruguay safely shepherded the game and have booked their place in Sunday's final in Buenos Aires.
Uruguay last lifted the continental trophy in 1995 when they beat Brazil on penalties in the final, this after successive triumphs in 1983 and '87 at the expense of Brazil and Chile.
True-patriot and former defender for the national team Oscar Tabarez has galvanised the Charruas since taking control in 2006. Prior to his appointment La Celeste had failed to qualify for 3 out of the last four World Cups, but have had their fortunes resuscitated with him at the helm. He has thus far guided them to fourth position in Copa America 2007, followed by their resilient showing at last year's World Cup- a semi final berth which no-one expected them to accomplish.
Paraguay square-off against Venezuela in the other semi-final to be played in Mendoza on Wednesday.
Uruguay (4-4-2): Muslera; Maxi Pereira, Lugano, Coates, CÃ¡ceres; ArÃ©valo RÃos, Gargano (Vazquez 70'), GonzÃ¡lez, Alvaro Pereira; ForlÃ¡n, SuÃ¡rez (Hernandez 70').
Peru (4-5-1): FernÃ¡ndez; Carmona, Acasiete, RodrÃguez, VÃlchez; AdvÃncula (Lobaton 60'); BalbÃn (Ballon 90'), Cruzado, YotÃºn (Chiroque 53'), Vargas; Guerrero.
Final Score: Uruguay 2-0 Peru (Suarez 52', 58')
File Photo by 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa
- 25/07/2011 12:31 - Uruguay outclass Paraguay to clinch Copa America title
- 24/07/2011 07:53 - Copa America 3rd place play-off: Guerrero hat-trick powers Peru past 10-men Venezuela
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