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Uruguay starts Copa America campaign with 3-1 win over Panama

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MIAMI GARDENS, June 24: Maximiliano Araújo scored when he sent a left-footed shot into the top far corner in the 16th minute, Darwin Núñez and Matías Viña added late goals and Uruguay beat Panama 3-1 in its Copa America opener.

Seeking a record 16th Copa America title, Uruguay dominated with 20 shots, including seven on target. Amir Murillo scored late into stoppage time for Panama.

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The match drew 33,425 to Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. The stadium is the site of the July 14 final and seven games during the 2026 World Cup.

The United States defeated Bolivia 2-0 in Sunday’s earlier Group C game at Arlington, Texas.

Uruguay plays Bolivia at East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Thursday, when Panama faces the U.S. in Atlanta. The group ends July 1 with a U.S.-Uruguay game at Kansas City, Missouri, and a Panama-Bolivia match in Orlando, Florida. The top two teams move on to the quarterfinals.

Uruguay is tied with Argentina for a record 15 Copa America titles but hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals since winning its last championship in 2011.

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Panama failed to get past the group phase in 2016, its only previous appearance as a guest at South America’s championship.

Araújo scored the first goal after he received a pass from Viña from just outside the penalty area, took a touch and turned. He tapped the ball twice and curled the ball past goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera’s outstretched left arm for his second goal in nine international appearances.

Núñez made it 2-0 in the 85th minute after Panama turned over the ball in the center circle. Nicolás de la Cruz played a long cross to Araújo, whose header deflected off a shoulder of Murillo to Núñez. He volleyed from 12 yards for his 12th goal in 24 appearances, his ninth in his last six matches.

Viña boosted the margin to 3-0 with a header from de la Cruz’s free kick in the first minute of stoppage time, outjumping defender Abdiel Ayarza for his first international goal.

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Murrillo spun a defender to beat goalkeeper Sergio Rochet in the fourth minute of stoppage time for his ninth goal.

Uruguay has undergone a rebuilding process under coach Marcelo Bielsa after the retirement of Edinson Cavani and Diego Godín, and a young roster has shown its ability to contend. Uruguay beat Lionel Messi and Argentina and also Brazil in World Cup qualifiers, then routed Mexico 4-0 in a friendly early in June.

Mosquera made four saves to keep the game close until late.

Luis Suárez, the 37-year-old striker who is Uruguay’s career leading scorer and was the player of the tournament in 2011, did not play. (AP)






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