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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Suarez goal at Copa America ends Uruguay's scoring drought

AP , Tuesday 22 Jun 2021
Luis Suarez
Uruguay's Luis Suarez, center, celebrates scoring his team's opening goal against Chile during a Copa America soccer match at Arena Pantanal stadium in Cuiaba, Brazil, Monday, June 21, 2021. (AP)

Luis Suarez ended a goal scoring drought for Uruguay that threatened to extend to a fifth straight game.

The veteran striker's 66th-minute equalizer helped Uruguay to 1-1 draw against Chile at the Copa America on Monday, its first point of the tournament.

The result allowed Chile to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament and kept the Uruguayans in contention in Group A.

Chile's Eduardo Vargas opened the scoring in the 26th with a powerful crossed shot from the right, and Suarez levelled the score from close range.

Argentina leads Group A with seven points. Chile is in second spot with five points, followed by Paraguay (3), Uruguay (1) and Bolivia (0).

Uruguay tried to be aggressive at the start after four matches without scoring, a stretch including Copa America and World Cup qualifying competition. Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made two difficult saves in the first 10 minutes, both to shots taken by Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

And then Chile scored. Vargas had a one-two with Ben Brereton on the right flank, entered the penalty box and shot with little angle past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Uruguay once again struggled to give opportunities to Suarez and Edinson Cavani, so coach Oscar Tabarez sent on midfielder Nahitan Nandez and striker Facundo Torres after the break.

Torres took a corner that deflected off Matias Vecino's head so Suarez could reach it. The striker and Chile's Arturo Vidal stretched to reach the ball, but Suarez hit it first with a volley.

Chile was down to 10 men in the 85th when Erick Pulgar was injured, after coach Martin Lasarte had already made all his substitutions. But Uruguay was unable to capitalize.

After the match, Suarez said he'd been lucky to score at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.

``We are happy with our teamwork today, but we know we have a lot to improve,'' he said.

Chile's Bravo said the result was bittersweet.

``We were not aggressive all the 90 minutes,'' he said. ``But we held them well in the end.``

Uruguay will play its third match of the tournament on Thursday against Bolivia. Chile will have its last group-stage game against Paraguay.

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