Copa America: Uruguay 4 Ecuador 0

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were on the scoresheet in Uruguay's comfortable win over Ecuador at the Copa America contest in Belo Horizonte on Sunday.

Uruguay star Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring on Sunday. Photo: AP

Uruguay got its Copa America campaign off to a perfect start, beating a 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in Belo Horizonte on Sunday.

Nicolas Lodeiro had given Oscar Tabarez's men a sixth-minute lead before Jose Quintero was sent off for Ecuador. That made an already difficult task even tougher and Uruguay capitalised on its numerical advantage in the first half through goals from star duo Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

Uruguay comfortably saw out its win, added to by an Arturo Mina own goal in the second half, to secure a dream start in Group C, which also includes Japan and two-time reigning champion Chile.

Diego Godin almost gifted Ecuador a first-minute opener after an underhit back pass before Uruguay opened the scoring. Suarez's cross from the right found Lodeiro, who took two beautiful touches before unleashing into the bottom corner on the half-volley.

 

Uruguay was already in control and the game turned further in its favour in the 24th minute. Quintero made contact with the face of Lodeiro in an aerial challenge and was shown a yellow card, only to be sent off by the referee following a lengthy VAR review. Uruguay pushed on from there, Cavani forcing two fine saves from Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez, including one onto the post after a delightful flick.

But the Paris Saint-Germain forward would double his side's lead in the 33rd minute with his first Copa America goal, acrobatically volleying in from close range after Godin centred a header. Uruguay went further ahead just before the break, Suarez converting at the back post after Martin Caceres flicked on a corner from Lodeiro.

In control with its three-goal lead, Uruguay was content to simply dictate possession to begin the second half. But it sealed its win in the 78th minute, Mina scoring an own goal that was initially ruled out for offside before being overturned by the VAR.

 

What does it mean? Perfect start for Uruguay

Uruguay made a group-stage exit at the Copa America Centenario after immediately being put on the back foot following a shock loss to Mexico. This was just the start Tabarez's men needed, and Cavani and Suarez are already off the mark too.

Cavani finally breaks duck

Adding to Uruguay's win, the pressure eased significantly on Cavani after the forward finally scored his first Copa America goal. He appeared to be growing frustrated after being denied twice by Ecuador goalkeeper Dominguez, but he scored his first Copa goal in his 11th game.

 

Copa crowds a worry

CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez admitted he was worried about the poor crowds at the Copa America and this clash was another example. The atmosphere was more comparable to a meaningless friendly than a Copa opener for these two teams, but Dominguez believes the crowds will improve.

Key Opta Facts

- Uruguay won a Copa America game by four or more goals for the first time since 1967.
- Ecuador has conceded 315 goals at Copa America tournaments, more than any other side in the competition's history.
- Nicolas Lodeiro scored Uruguay's 400th goal in Copa America history, with only Argentina (455) and Brazil (408) reaching this milestone before it.
- Uruguay scored three goals in a Copa America first half for the first time since 1959, against Argentina – it went on to win that game 5-0.

What's next?

Uruguay takes on guest Japan in Porto Alegre on Thursday, while Ecuador looks to bounce back against Chile on Friday.