Uruguay crush 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in Group C opener
Uruguay crushed Ecuador 4-0 in their Copa America opener on Sunday with help from an early sending off that deflated their opponents and assured the 15-times champions the simplest of starts to their campaign.
Uruguay were already leading 1-0 from a sixth minute Nicolas Lodeiro goal when Jose Quintero was shown a VAR-assisted red card for throwing an arm in an aerial challenge.
The 23rd minute sending off put Uruguay firmly in the driving seat and Edinson Cavani with an acrobatic volley and Luis Suarez with a poacher’s goal made it 3-0 by half-time.
The Uruguayans took their foot off the pedal in an uneventful second half but an own goal from Arturo Mina 12 minutes from time, confirmed by VAR, sealed a miserable night for Ecuador.
“We had our chances in the first half and we took them. That allowed us to manage the game,” Cavani said. “They went down to 10 men and that allowed us to control the match.”
The result, Uruguay’s biggest win in the Copa America since 1967, puts them top of Group C, with Japan to play Chile in the second group game tomorrow.
Ecuador, one of only two South American sides never to win the tournament, looked poor throughout the game at the Mineirao stadium and will have to recover quickly before facing Chile, the current Copa America champions in Salvador on Friday.
Uruguay’s next match is against Japan in Porto Alegre on Thursday.
Lloyd leads dominant US past Chile into last 16
Veteran striker Carli Lloyd scored twice as the United States beat Chile 3-0 on Sunday, sending the current holders into the last 16 at the Women’s World Cup despite some remarkable resistance from the opposition goalkeeper Christiane Endler.
Lloyd, one of the biggest names in the women’s game, became the first player to score in six consecutive World Cup matches but missed out on a hat-trick when she put a late penalty wide.
Yet Chilean keeper Endler, on her home Parc des Princes ground, was the player of the match, earning all the plaudits after pulling off several stunning saves to keep the score down.
“Endler was fantastic, spectacular,” USA coach Jill Ellis told a news conference. “She is one of best shot stoppers we’ve ever seen. That goalkeeper will keep that team in the mix and it’s a wonderful statement about the level of goalkeeping.”
The United States will next play Sweden to decide top spot in group F after the Scandinavian side had earlier booked their place in the knockout stages, also with a maximum six points, by beating Thailand 5-1.
The U.S., coming off a record 13-0 win over Thailand in their opener, still lead the group on goal difference, having quickly improved their tally when Lloyd smashed home the first of their three first-half goals with an 11th minute half-volley.
It followed an early onslaught that had already seen the U.S. miss several clear-cut chances, including Lloyd hitting the post from close range with Paris St Germain’s Endler then reacting quickest to deny the U.S. striker from the rebound.
U.S. midfielder Julie Ertz doubled the score on 26 minutes, flicking in a header from a corner and Lloyd, captain for the day, then powered home from another corner nine minutes later after easily losing her marker.
That took the 36-year-old Lloyd’s tally in the tournament to three, and 10 overall in World Cups.
A three-time Olympian and only the second player, man or woman, to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final when the U.S won in 2015, Lloyd came off the bench against Thailand to score their 13th goal and could now be challenging for a starting spot.
“The fact that she’s now scored three goals, I don’t think she could be in a better spot (to start). I also know she’s ready to do whatever she needs to for the team,” Ellis said.
The U.S. coach changed seven outfield players from the first game giving the squad a good rest ahead of the table-topping decider with Sweden on June 20.
The champions began the second-half in the same attacking vein but Endler made a string of saves, including acrobatically tipping over a Christen Press volley and then clawing away a point-blank header from the same player minutes later.
“It’s a mix of feelings, but I’m satisfied to have played like this, especially here, at this stadium that’s my home,” Endler told reporters.
“The football world powers have years of advantage compared to us in the development and support of women’s football.
“This must be the beginning of something bigger and more important so more girls can dedicate themselves to the game professionally.”
Lloyd almost had her hat-trick on 72 minutes, looping a header over Endler, but watched in despair as it bounced back off the bar.
She then had a golden chance to seal her hat-trick in the 81st minute after a pitchside VAR review saw a penalty awarded following a tug in the box, but she skewed it wide.
Costa Rica cruise past Nicaragua at Gold Cup
A rampant first-half performance from Costa Rica set them up for a 4-0 win over Nicaragua in their Gold Cup opener at the National stadium in San Jose on Sunday.
Playing their first game of the tournament at home in this year’s expanded Gold Cup, Costa Rica were dominant throughout against their Central American neighbours.
Bryan Oviedo put the home side ahead in six minutes when the Nicaraguan goalkeeper failed to block his angled drive and Celso Borges made it two 13 minutes later.
Costa Rica got a third seconds before half time after a mix up in the Nicaraguan defence allowed Elias Aguilar’s 35-meter free kick to sail over everyone and into the net.
The second half was a quieter affair, with Allan Cruz rounding off the scoring 13 minutes from time when he curled a sweet left-foot shot into the top corner of the net from 18 meters out.
While 27 of the 31 Gold Cup matches are taking place in the United States, this match and Haiti’s 2-1 win over Bermuda in the other Group B encounter, were held in Costa Rica as part of the confederation’s expansion plans.
Another two games take place in Jamaica on Monday.
The next round of Group B games will be held in Frisco, Texas on Thursday when Costa Rica play Bermuda and Haiti take on Nicaragua.