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Cavani header snatches Copa America group top spot for Uruguay as Chile to face Colombia

An 82nd-minute header from Edinson Cavani saw Uruguay earn a clash with Peru.

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani was on the scoresheet last night.
Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani was on the scoresheet last night.
Image: Buda Mendes

EDINSON CAVANI SCORED a late winner as Uruguay snatched top spot from two-time reigning Copa America champions Chile in Group C with a 1-0 victory at the Maracana.

Chile were on track to progress to the quarter-finals as group winners with the match petering out for a draw until Cavani glanced a header past Gabriel Arias eight minutes from the end in Rio de Janeiro.

Cavani’s header saw Uruguay leapfrog Chile and earn a quarter-final clash against Peru, with La Roja set to meet Colombia in the last eight.

Playing in front of a sea of red in Rio, Chile enjoyed more of the possession in the lively opening 45 minutes as Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez forced Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera into diving saves.

Uruguay – the first nation to play 200 Copa America matches – managed to get in behind Chile’s defence via Luis Suarez, who rounded Arias, but he was forced to an acute angle and eventually closed down.

Martin Caceres then volleyed just wide of the post from a corner two minutes before half-time – set-pieces continuing to be Uruguay’s most threatening option.

Oscar Tabarez – who became the first ever head coach to reach 200 games in charge of the same nation – and his counterpart made changes but both Uruguay and Chile looked disjointed in the second period.

Uruguay and Chile lacked creativity and penetration but there was no shortage of physicality, though Jose Gimenez cleared Paulo Diaz’s goal-bound header off the line to deny La Roja with 20 minutes remaining.

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And against the run of play, Uruguay stunned Chile as Cavani popped up and directed a Jonathan Rodriguez cross into the net in the 82nd minute.

La Roja only needed a point from their final group fixture to win the group but Cavani and Uruguay had other ideas. The result means Chile will now come up against Colombia, who posted a 100 per cent record in Group B, in their bid for a third successive title. Uruguay, meanwhile, face a Peru side that were routed 5-0 by Brazil.

Uruguay will take on Peru in Salvador on Saturday, while Chile are scheduled to play Colombia in Sao Paulo a day earlier.

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