Copa America : Peru upset Uruguay

Merida, June 27:

The world’s oldest international soccer tournament kicked off Tuesday with Peru’s stunning 3-0 defeat of Uruguay, while host Venezuela missed out on its first Copa America win in 40 years when it drew 2-2 with Bolivia.

Brazil open its title defence on Wednesday when it squares off against Mexico, which was invited as a guest to the 12-nation South American tournament along with the United States.

Miguel Villalta scored with a first-half header and Peru added another pair in the second half to upset Uruguay, which is tied with Argentina with the most tournament championships at 14.

Villalta converted a short corner in the 27th minute and Juan Carlos Marino’s blast inside the near post from the top corner of the penalty area in the 70th gave the Peruvians more than enough to win. Paolo Guerrero scored third goal over a tired Uruguay squad in the final minutes.

Following the Uruguay-Peru match, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, flanked by Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona and fellow leftist President Evo Morales of Bolivia, watched as the hosts let escape an opportunity to obtain just its second-ever Copa victory.

Giancarlo Maldonado and Ricardo Paez scored either side of the break to give Venezuela a draw with Bolivia. Venezuela opened the scoring after 21 minutes when Maldonado fired a shot past the diving Bolivian keeper.

Bolivia counterattacked and was helped by a Venezuelan own-goal deflection off a Jaime Moreno shot in the 39th minute. Venezuela temporarily regained the lead on a goal by Paez in the 62nd minute. But Juan Carlos Arce tipped in the equalizer with the heel of his outstretched foot with seven minutes remaining.