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Argentina sink 10-man Uruguay

July 14, 2004 10:07 IST

Striker Luciano Figueroa scored his first two international goals as Argentina beat arch-rivals Uruguay 4-2 in the Copa America on Tuesday after their opponents played for nearly one hour with 10 men.

Four of the goals came in the first half, when both teams held the lead, before Uruguay shut up shop in the second half of the group B game following a red card for defender Joe Bizera.

Argentina finished second in the group with six points and will face hosts Peru in their quarter-final in Chiclayo on Saturday. Uruguay, who finished third with four points, are guaranteed to qualify as one of the two best third-placed teams.

Mexico topped the group with seven points.

Although both teams were already qualified before kickoff, it was a typically full-blooded River Plate derby with the Uruguayans in particular playing with enormous commitment.

Bizera was sent off for a second bookable offence while Carlos Diogo was lucky to escape with a booking four minutes earlier for a horrendous two-footed lunge on Cristian Gonzalez -- possibly the tournament's worst tackle.

Uruguay made six changes to the team which started the 2-1 win over Ecuador, with captain Paolo Montero among the players rested. Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa dropped Javier Saviola and brought in Figueroa, a move which looked unlikely to boost his popularity back home.


Estoyanoff fired Uruguay ahead with a fine right-footed volley after only seven minutes before Argentina replied with two goals in quick succession.

Gonzalez slotted home a 20th minute penalty after a foul on Cesar Delgado, then Figueroa scored from close range less than one minute later.

The former Birmingham City striker, now with Mexico's Cruz Azul, tapped home a rebound after keeper Luis Barbat failed to hold Javier Zanetti's shot.

That blow, followed by Bizera's sending-off, would have floored many teams.

But the tenacious Uruguayans equalised out of the blue in the 38th minute when Vicente Sanchez, another Mexican-based player, picked up a loose ball and struck a 25-metre left-foot shot which bounced once before hitting the back of the net.

Argentina spent the second half camped in the Uruguay half.

Figueroa and Luis Gonzalez were twice close while Cristian Gonzalez was also close with a raking drive from his favourite position on the left of the area.

Captain Roberto Ayala finally broke through with nine minutes left, rising above the defence to brilliantly head home Andres D'Alessandro's corner.

Figueroa completed the scoring in the 90th minute, with another opportunist tap-in after a counter-attack.

Brian Homewood
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