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HomeNewsUruguay Triumphs 3-1 Over Panama in Copa América 2024 Opener

Uruguay Triumphs 3-1 Over Panama in Copa América 2024 Opener

Uruguay defeated Panama 3-1 this Sunday in the debut of both teams in the Copa América-2024, with goals from Maximiliano Araújo, Darwin Núñez, and Matías Viña, confirming their status as title favorites.

Maxi Araújo scored in the 15th minute with a placed left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area, causing the thousands of Uruguayan fans present at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, to explode with joy.

Darwin Núñez scored the second in the 85th minute with a low shot from inside the area, and Viña completed the job with a header in the 90+1 minute from a cross by Nicolás de la Cruz. Panama saved face in the 90+5 minute with a good left-footed shot from Michael Murillo.

The team coached by Argentine Marcelo Bielsa starts off on the right foot in Group C, where they are tied on points with the United States, who beat Bolivia 2-0 this Sunday.

Uruguay began the match imposing the intense rhythm that their coach, ‘Loco’ Bielsa, likes so much. The high pressure from their players completely deactivated Panama, who couldn’t keep the ball for more than two touches.

With the ball, the Uruguayans took advantage of the good mobility of their fullbacks, Nahitan Nández and Matías Viña, well supported by wingers Maximiliano Araújo and Facundo Pellistri.

This was how the match was going, with Panama barely crossing the center of the field, when Maximiliano Araújo received the ball on the left, adjusted his body, and launched a left-footed shot from outside the area that went into the top corner of Orlando Mosquera’s goal. Panama tried to lift their heads, but they lost too many balls in their own field and gave clear opportunities to Uruguay.

If the second goal for the Celeste didn’t come, it was due to Darwin Núñez’s lack of precision. The Liverpool striker wasted several clear chances during that stretch, including a point-blank shot at the Panamanian goalkeeper after a good cross from Federico Valverde.

More lack of control

The second half began with a different Panama. More dynamic, with fewer losses at the back and moving the ball faster. On the other side, Uruguay could no longer maintain the high pressure of the first half and left more spaces.

Panamanian forward José Fajardo gave the first warning after taking advantage of a mistake by the Uruguayan defense, but his shot went just wide of the opposing goal. That chance seemed to cool down the Uruguayans, who lost control of the ball, and gave the Panamanians much more time to think.

“In the second half, there were 15 minutes where we didn’t play well. They dominated that segment of the game and created chances,” Bielsa admitted in the post-match press conference.

The Argentine substituted Giorgian De Arrascaeta for Nicolás de la Cruz to try to change the dynamics. His team managed to stop the Panamanian rebellion and secured the victory when Núñez, so inaccurate until then, managed to beat Mosquera with a good cross-shot from inside the area. And Viña took care of rounding off the celebration with the third, a header, after a cross from De La Cruz.

Murillo’s last goal was a good reward for the Panamanians, who knew how to lift their heads after the overwhelming dominance of the Uruguayans in the first half.

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