Uruguay start record-chasing Copa América campaign with win over Panama

Marcelo Bielsa’s side dominate in opening group gameUruguay chasing record 16th Copa América title

Maximiliano Araújo scored when he sent a left-footed shot into the top far corner in the 16th minute, Darwin Núñez and Matías Viña added late goals and Uruguay beat Panama 3-1 on Sunday night in its Copa América opener.

Seeking a record 16th Copa América title, Uruguay dominated with 20 shots, including seven on target. Michael Amir Murillo scored late into stoppage time for Panama.

The USMNT defeated Bolivia 2-0 in Sunday’s earlier Group C game in Arlington, Texas.

Araújo scored the first goal after he received a pass from Viña from just outside the penalty area, took a touch and turned. He tapped the ball twice and curled the ball past goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera’s outstretched left arm for his second goal in nine international appearances.

Núñez made it 2-0 in the 85th minute after Panama turned the ball over the in the middle of the pitch. Nicolás de la Cruz played a long cross to Araújo, whose header deflected off the shoulder of Murillo and fell to Núñez. He volleyed in from 12 yards out for his 12th goal in 24 appearances, his ninth in his last six matches.

Viña boosted the margin to 3-0 with a header from de la Cruz’s free kick in the first minute of stoppage time, out-leaping defender Abdiel Ayarza for his first international goal.

Murrillo spun a defender to beat goalkeeper Sergio Rochet in the fourth minute of stoppage time for his ninth international goal.

Uruguay has undergone a rebuilding process under coach Marcelo Bielsa after the retirement of Edinson Cavani and Diego Godín, and a young roster has shown an ability to contend at the top level. Uruguay beat Lionel Messi and Argentina and a wayward Brazil in World Cup qualifiers, then routed Mexico 4-0 in a friendly early in June.

Luis Suárez, the 37-year-old striker who is Uruguay’s career leading scorer and was the player of the tournament in 2011, did not play.

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