CONMEBOL: Uruguay set-up semi-final clash with Peru
Uruguay have sent tournament hosts Argentina crashing out of the 2011 Copa America. Following a 1-1 draw in the latest installment of El Clásico Rioplatense, the Uruguayans kept their nerve in the subsequent penalty shoot-out and went through 5-4 on spot kicks with Carlos Tévez the only one to miss from twelve yards out.
Saturday’s quarter-final match between the two most successful sides in the tournament was the most open in the 2011 event so far with Uruguay taking the lead after just five minutes through Diego Pérez. Parity was restored after just eighteen minutes when Lionel Messi’s perfectly weighted cross found an unmarked Gonzalo Higuain in the box who steered his header home from close range. Both teams were reduced to ten men with Uruguayan goal scorer Pérez the first man sent off for two bookable offences jst before half-time whilst Javier Mascherano followed suit just minutes before full-time. Both teams even had a goal disallowed too but both decisions were correctly adjudged by the officials to have been offside. In the ensuing penalty shoot-out Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera proved the decisive factor as his save from Carlos Tévez, who took Argentina’s third spot kick, was saved and the Uruguayans, who remained 100% successful in the shoot-out, sealed the deal when Martín Cáceres struck to send his team through to the semi-finals.
Uruguay will face Peru in the last four stage following the latter’s extra-time victory over Colombia which helped clinch a place at the semi-final stage of the competition for the first time since 1997. Radamel Falcao missed the best chance of the game midway through the second half when hitting his penalty kick wide. With the game goalless at full-time the eventuality of penalties was looking possible until Carlos Lobatón gave the Peruvians the lead after 102 minutes. Juan Vargas clinched victory ten minutes when bagging Peru’s second and they sealed their semi-final place date of destiny with Uruguay which will be played in La Plata on Tuesday evening.