Suárez double takes Uruguay into Copa América final | Pakistan Today

Suárez double takes Uruguay into Copa América final

After four upsets in the quarter-finals, normal service was resumed in the Copa América as Uruguay beat a limited Peru side 2-0 to reach Sunday’s final. Two goals in the space of five minutes in the second half from Luis Suárez were enough for Oscar Washington Tabárez’s side to make it through, and their task was made easier when Peru’s captain, Juan Vargas, was sent off after 69 minutes.
Uruguay knocked out the hosts Argentina in the previous round, but were firm favourites against Peru, who were in their first semi-final since 1997. The match largely went true to form, Uruguay pressing hard in search of an opener and Peru sitting back, content to play on the break. The first half was tight, more notable for several yellow cards for both sides than any free-flowing football.
However the few chances created went Uruguay’s way. Early on Suárez demonstrated his threat when he volleyed wide following a free-kick from Diego Forlán. He might have done better. Not long after, Raúl Fernández was called into action, denying the lively Alvaro Pereira from close range after Suárez had flicked on a throw-in.
Gradually Peru grew into the match and their best chance came when Vargas’s wonderful cross from the left was just missed by Paolo Guerrero and Luis Advíncula. That was a rare moment of menace from them though, and they had a scare just before half time when Alvaro Pereira poked the ball past Fernández after Diego Lugano had flicked on another Forlán free-kick.
Fortunately for Peru, the flag was up for offside, Pereira straying a few yards past the last defender.
The breakthrough was coming though, and Uruguay did not need long to make their dominance count at the start of the second half. After 53 minutes, Forlán had a go from long range. The shot was heading wide of the right post, but Fernandez, having lost his bearings, pushed the ball back out into the six-yard box and from a tight angle, the alert Suárez smashed the rebound past the goalkeeper.
Five minutes later, Suárez did it again. Released by Alvaro Pereira’s lovely ball over the top, he rounded Fernández, who had foolishly come racing out of his area, and then slid the ball into the empty net. Uruguay were well worth their lead. Without the injured Jefferson Farfán and Claudio Pizarro, this was a step too far for Peru, who were unable to support the isolated Guerrero. This has been a wonderful tournament for them, but their frustration boiled over when Vargas reacted to provocation from Sebastián Coates and elbowed the defender in the face, earning himself a red card. Uruguay have won the Copa América 14 times. They will fancy their chances of making it 15 on Sunday.
Locals cool on Messi in superstar’s heartland: Hours after Argentina’s national side slid out to neighbours Uruguay at the Copa America, Lionel Messi headed back almost unnoticed to his home town of Rosario. Despite his being the world footballer of the year, it was a low-key homecoming for the Barcelona man — but that was for the better, particularly after another unspectacular showing in the national shirt.
In truth, locals hardly seemed to notice the whole event after the Argentine Football Association decided it should pass them by. A handful of youngsters, sporting Brazil starlet Neymar’s spectacularly spiky haircut, possibly had an inkling, but most locals seemed more interested in queuing up to see the final Harry Potter movie. Retail outlet Jose’s Bridal Wear did make a little concession to the event’s existence, draping an Argentinian flag among silken wedding gowns. Organisers decided that the Copa should go on the road, with only the July 24 final to be played in the capital Buenos Aires. Yet while the albiceleste appeared at La Plata near the capital, as well as the provincial towns of Santa Fe and Cordoba, they shunned the one place where the neutral might expect support to be at its most raucous — Messi’s old haunt, Rosario.

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