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Mexico beat Uruguay 3-1 for third place in Copa America

15 July 2007 02:19

CARACAS (AFP) - Mexico defeated Uruguay 3-1 here Saturday to claim third place in the 42nd edition of the Copa America.

After falling behind to a 22nd-minute strike by Sebasian Abreu, Mexico responded with Cuauhtemoc Blanco's penalty in the 38th and goals from Omar Bravo in the 68th and Andres Guardado in the 76th.

While Blanco's conversion from the spot put Mexico on level terms on the scoresheet, the foul that prompted it proved even more costly for Uruguay as they saw Diego Lugano sent off by Ecuadoran referee Mauricio Reinoso in a contentious decision.

Reinoso had turned down what looked like a penalty after Lugano's challenge on Bravo after 18 minutes, but pulled out the red card when Lugano collided with another opponent inside the area.

Down a man, Uruguay could do little to challenge Mexico's dominance in the second half.

Mexico pressed their advantage, challenging Uruguay keeper Fabian Carini repeatedly before Bravo broke through with a superb shot.

Eight minutes later Mexico sealed the victory as substitute Andres Guardado blasted home a long-range effort.

Both teams had threatened early in the first half, Uruguay going ahead in the 22nd when when Abreu headed a cross from Maxi Pereira on the right past Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa.

The match for third place was the curtain raiser to Sunday's "dream final" between Argentina and Brazil in Maracaibo.

Brazil downed Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out in the semi-finals, while Argentina dispatched Mexico.

Argentina have won the title 14 times, but not since 1993. Brazil have played in all but one final in the past 12 years - missing out in 2001 - and have won seven of those, including a penalty shoot-out victory over Argentina three years ago in Peru.

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