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Jul 5, 2011

Uruguay rescue point against Peru

Uruguay were held to a 1-1 draw by Peru as Group C action in the 2011 Copa America commenced in San Juan on Monday.

A Luis Suarez goal from the final kick of the first-half allowed the World Cup semi-finalists to rescue a point after going behind to a Paolo Guerrero goal for Peru in the 23rd minute.

Uruguay began sluggishly, as their three forwards Diego Forlan, Edinson Cavani and Suarez, all struggled to get a rhythm going in their 4-3-3 formation.

But Guerrero's strike, scored during a swift counter-attack after the Hamburg striker rounded goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, stunned the Uruguayans into action.

Forlan initially went close to levelling with a powerful free-kick, only to be denied by the palms of Raul Fernandez. However, the goalkeeper could do nothing to keep Suarez's effort out just prior to the half-time whistle, as the Liverpool front-man slalomed his way into the penalty area before slotting home calmly.

Both sides had clear-cut opportunities to score a winner in a tense second-half, but neither could land the killer blow.

The best chance undoubtedly fell at the feet of Forlan who, after being played in by Suarez, blazed wildly over the bar with only Fernandez to beat.

For Peru, substitute Juan Vargas and Rinaldo Cruzado forced a saves out of Muslera, while Guerrero was nearly the hero after his diving header in the final minute flew just the wrong side of the post.

In the other match, Chile had to come from behind to defeat Mexico 2-1.

After Nestor Araujo put the Mexicans ahead in the 40th-minute, second-half goals from Esteban Paredes and Arturo Vidal saw Chile claw their way back and claim all three points to go top of the group.

Despite fielding a youthful side, Copa America invitees Mexico looked strong from the opening whistle, and went ahead when a quickly taken free-kick found Araujo lurking at the far post to loft home a header.

Chilean stars Alexis Sanchez and Humberto Suazo were kept quiet into the second-half and both squandered chances to score the equaliser. However, Paredes took his opportunity when it presented itself by sliding in a loose ball after a goalmouth scramble in the 66th-minute.

Around 8,000 people from Chile made the trek across the border to watch the match in San Juan, and they were rewarded on 72 minutes when Vidal headed in powerfully from a corner to complete the comeback.

Group C action continues on Friday when Uruguay play Chile, and Peru take on Mexico.

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