The Copa America continued on Sunday night and the small hours of Monday morning (GMT), with Paraguay, Qatar, Uruguay and Ecuador all featuring:
Qatar rescue draw from two goals down
Copa America debutants Qatar managed to hold Paraguay to a 2-2 draw after recovering two goals down in the Maracana.
The game started well for Paraguay who the lead after just four minutes. The goal had a distinct Premier League feel to it, as Miguel Almiron’s free-kick was headed on by Fabian Balbuena onto the hand of Pedro Miguel. The referee pointed to the spot and former Benfica star Oscar Cardozo made no mistake with the spot-kick.
Qatar controlled possession for the majority of the half, though. In fact, the team managed by Spaniard Felix Sanchez enjoyed 60 per cent of the ball in the first period.
Despite a lack of first-half possession, Paraguay came out of the traps quickly in the second period. The South American’s looked to have doubled their lead on 52 minutes, as Cardozo finished from a cross by substitute Derlis Gonzalez.
However, after a VAR review, the goal was ruled out. Paraguay did double their lead four minutes though and Gonzalez played a part once again. This time the forward fired an effort from distance that beat Qatari goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb at his left-hand post.
Qatar refused to give up though and got back into the game on 68 minutes, as cut on to the left side of the Paraguay box before smashing an effort past the helpless Fernandez. Nine minutes later Sanchez team scored an equaliser through Boualem Khoukhi after a good team move.
The draw leaves both sides above Group B favourites Argentina, who remain bottom after losing 2-0 against Colombia in their game of the tournament.
Uruguay ease to win over Ecuador
Uruguay recorded a comfortable 4-0 win over ten-man Ecuador to kick-off their Copa America campaign off in style.
Oscar Tabarez’s team took the lead after just six minutes, as Nicolas Lodeiro produced a good finish after a good past from Barcelona forward Luis Suarez had found the midfielder in the penalty area.
Edinson Cavani saw two close-range efforts kept out well by Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez. Ecuador were also reduced to ten men on 26 minutes, as Jose Quintero saw red for elbowing Uruguayan goalscorer Lodeiro.
Cavani finally won his personal battle with Dominguez on 33 minutes, volleying past the goalkeeper to double La Celeste’s lead. Suarez got in on the goalscoring act just before the break after Ecuador failed to clear a corner kick.
The goalscoring came to an end on 78 minutes, as Arturo Mina put the ball into his own net. A VAR review confirmed that the goal would stand. In truth, it was an awful game for Ecuador. However, it could have been much worse, as Uruguay had two goals disallowed for offside.
Uruguay certainly justified their status as one of the teams to beat in this competition with the win. The win means that Tabarez’s side top Group C, with Chile and Japan still to play in the group. If Ecuador are to have any chance of qualifying, they will need to up their game in their final two group fixtures.
Can Uruguay go all the way this year in the Copa America?