Copa América - Guerrero the hero as Peru win

Sat, 09 Jul 03:39:00 2011

Paolo Guerrero ensured Peru avoided a frustrating draw as he scored with seven minutes remaining to give his side a 1-0 victory over Mexico in Group C of the Copa America.

Copa América - Guerrero the hero for Peru

Peru, who secured an impressive 1-1 draw with Uruguay in their opening game, wasted a host of chances in Mendoza as Juan Vargas twice struck the woodwork in the second half and Guerrero failed to score with two excellent headed chances.

However, the Hamburg striker was alert to convert when unmarked after 83 minutes with his goal ensuring that Peru are joint top of Group C with Chile after both countries secured four points from two games. Uruguay are in third with two points, but Mexico sit bottom after two defeats.

A draw in the game's earlier match between Uruguay and Chile ensured that Peru had the chance to share top spot with a victory, and Sergio Markarian's side certainly started in dangerous fashion, with Paulo Cruzado drilling a shot wide inside 60 seconds after a defensive error.

Carlos Lobaton also failed to hit the target, but only narrowly as he attempted an ambitious shot from 30 yards that flew ferociously past goalkeeper Luis Michel and the far post.

Peru continued to apply pressure and, after six minutes, Hamburg striker Guerrero collected the ball following a neat interchange between Vargas and Luis Advincula and struck a low effort that was palmed wide by Michel.

Mexico's young side, shorn of many senior internationals following the country's victory at the Gold Cup, were in danger of being overwhelmed but almost took the lead themselves on the half hour mark. Keeper Raul Fernandez spilled a cross from Paul Aguilar and only a brilliant block from Santiago Acasiete prevented Javier Aquino from converting.

That was the last real moment of note, a lovely run and shot from Giovani Dos Santos aside, in a poor first half that continued the rather disappointing nature of the tournament so far.

Peru continued to dominate in the second half as their greater experience came to bear, with Guerrero a threat as he headed wide when excellently placed at the back post after 50 minutes.

Fiorentina winger Vargas was also a prominent figure and was unlucky to see a low effort come back off the base of the far post just before the hour as he collected the ball following a neat touch from Guerrero and drove into space.

Vargas then saw a wonderful free-kick strike the spot where post meets bar following a foul that prompted a yellow card for Hector Reynoso, and Peru's frustration deepened on 80 minutes when Michel threw out his arms to produce a fine save to deny Guerrero as he headed down and back across goal.

However, the striker, who scored Peru's opening goal of the tournament in a draw against Uruguay, could be denied no longer with seven minutes remaining.

With the culpable Javier Aquino playing him onside, Guerrero was unmarked to meet a ball from Michael Guevara at the far post and tapped home to take his side joint top of the group with one game remaining.

Tom Adams - follow me on Twitter @TomEurosport / Eurosport

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