Belo Horizonte (Brazil) (AFP)
Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were on target as Uruguay thumped
10-man Ecuador 4-0 in their opening Group C match at the Copa
America on Sunday.
Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring after just six minutes before
Ecuador full-back Jose Quintero was dismissed for a flailing arm.
With a numerical advantage, Uruguay ran riot at the Mineirao
stadium in Belo Horizonte as Cavani and Suarez netted before the
break. The rout was completed 12 minutes from time with an Arturo
Mina own goal.
It was the ideal beginning for Uruguay in a tough Group C
alongside champions Chile and guests Japan, who meet on Monday in
Uruguay were off to a dream start.
Suarez crossed from the right and Lodeiro proved the coolest
customer in the Mineirao stadium as he beat one defender with his
chest control, flicked the ball over another and then hit a
crisp, low volley into the bottom far corner.
Uruguay were rampant and had the ball in the net soon afterwards
only for Cavani to be given offside in the build-up.
Ecuador brought a physicality to the contest that upset the
Uruguayan players and Quintero was perhaps lucky to escape
punishment when catching Diego Laxalt with an elbow in an aerial
But moments later, his arm made contact with Lodeiro's face when
challenging for another header, this time drawing blood.
Brazilian referee Anderson Daronco -- whose bulging arm muscles
put even Ecuador's strapping players to shame -- initially showed
the full-back a yellow card but after consulting VAR he changed
that to red.
That left Ecuador with a mountain to climb.
On 27 minutes, Alexander Dominguez made a brilliant low save to
turn behind Cavani's half-volley from 15 yards.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani was denied again when
Dominguez stunningly tipped his clever back-flick onto the post
But it was third time lucky on 33 minutes as Diego Godin headed
the ball into the danger area and Cavani acrobatically rasped a
bicycle kick from seven yards past a helpless Dominguez.
- Patient Uruguay -
Nahitan Nandez wasted a good chance, shooting straight at
Dominguez but Suarez put the game to bed a minute before the
break, stealing in at the back post to poke home a flick-on from
With the game all but over as a contest, the second half was a
damp squib of an affair.
Uruguay had the ball in the net soon after the restart but Cavani
was offside again.
Ecuador showed plenty of commitment, continuing to rough up
Uruguay's more technical players, but never looked like they
believed they would get anything out of the game.
Uruguay looked content to play a patient possession game without
pushing for more goals.
Cavani did send Suarez scampering in on goal after a defensive
mistake but Dominguez was quickly off his line to snatch the ball
off the Barcelona forward's toes.
The fourth came in calamitous fashion as Gaston Pereiro tried to
pick out Suarez from Cavani's cross even though he was only six
yards from goal.
His header dropped to Ecuador center-half Mina, who inadvertently
volleyed into his own goal.