Mon, Jul 12, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Mexico advances to face Uruguay

AP , CHICLAYO, PERU

Argentina's striker Carlos Tevez, left, fights for the ball with Mexico's Duilio Davino during the first half of their Copa America match in Chiclayo, Saturday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Argentina was brought back to earth in a 1-0 loss to Mexico at the Copa America on Saturday and will clash with 14-time champion Uruguay for a place in the quarterfinals.

Uruguay topped Ecuador 2-1 in the early match at Elias Aguirre Stadium and finished the night atop the Group B standings with Mexico on four points, followed by Argentina with three, and Ecuador none.

Only 72 hours after pouring six goals on Ecuador, Argentina was whitewashed by a stubborn Mexican defense, despite dominating play.

In the ninth minute, Ramon Morales bent his 25m free kick into the upper right corner and gave goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri no chance, and Mexico held on to beat Argentina for the first time since a 1990 friendly.

Referee Marcio Rezende called the free kick after Argentina's Luis Gonzalez brought down Jesus Arellano with a slide tackle from behind.

"My boys fought hard for this victory," said Mexico coach Ricardo Lavolpe. "I was born in Argentina, but I've lived in Mexico for 25 years and this was a game I wanted to win."

Argentina's relentless attack frequently threatened to score. In the 16th minute, Luis Gonzalez's shot flew over the crossbar, and a minute later a Javier Zanetti attempt rolled across the goal area untouched.

But Mexico counterattacked effectively, and its sagging defense made Argentina's offense work overtime.

"We couldn't penetrate Mexico's back line. We had seven or eight clear chances on goal and we should have been more effective," said Marcelo Bielsa, Argentina's coach. "I'm not sure many teams could withstand allowing a team that many chances."

Mexico defender Rafael Marquez constantly shadowed Argentina's Javier Saviola, who scored three goals in the team's opener and is the tournament's leading scorer. Both players are teammates at Spain's FC Barcelona.

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