AAP Soccer

Uruguay cruise to Copa America victory

By AAP Newswire

Goals from Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez have helped Uruguay hammer 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in their Copa America Group C opener.

Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring while an own-goal by Ecuador defender Arturo Mina rounded off the scoring at the Mineirao Stadium.

Uruguay played with an extra man from the 24th minute after Ecuador's Jose Quintero was red-carded for elbowing Lodeiro while they battled for possession.

Quintero was initially given a yellow card but video review determined he deserved to be sent off.

Uruguay were already in control when Quintero was dismissed.

Lodeiro struck in the sixth minute, controlling a pass from Suarez inside the area and lobbing the ball over a defender before finding the net.

Cavani had two close-range attempts saved by Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez before finally scoring with a volley in the 33rd.

Suarez added to the lead after a corner kick in the 44th.

The fourth goal came when Mina, as he tried to clear a ball crossed into the area in the 78th, only managed to divert it into his own goal.

"After the red card the game opened up and we dominated," Lodeiro said.

"It was an important opening victory. We have to keep going game by game, always trying to improve."

Guests Japan and two-time defending champion Chile will play the other Group C match on Monday in Sao Paulo.

Uruguay next face Japan on Thursday in Porto Alegre while Ecuador will tackle Chile in Salvador.

Earlier on Sunday, Qatar refused to panic as they recovered from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Paraguay at the Maracana in their tournament debut.

The Asian champions, invited guests for the South American championship, went behind on four minutes when veteran Oscar Cardozo scored from the penalty spot.

Paraguay doubled their advantage on 56 minutes when Derlis Gonzalez scored.

However, Qatar's possession domination finally paid off when Almoez Ali fired home on 68 minutes.

Ten minutes later, Qatar were level when Boualem Khoukhi found the net.

Colombia lead Group B with three points after their 2-0 defeat of Argentina on Saturday.

Qatar's next game is against Colombia in Sao Paulo on Wednesday while Paraguay take on Argentina in Belo Horizonte.