GLENDALE, ARIZONA: Mexico scored twice in the final five minutes to beat Uruguay 3-1 in a pulsating Copa America Group C match in which each side had a man sent off on Sunday.
The win in front of a passionate and partisan crowd at Glendale, Arizona left Mexico top of the group on goal difference from Venezuela after they beat 10-man Jamaica 1-0 in Chicago.
The early omens were not good for Uruguay who stood stunned before kickoff when the Chilean national anthem was played instead of their own.
The Uruguayan players stood silently on the University of Phoenix Stadium, many with blank stares, while the wrong anthem was played.
In a statement, Copa America said the mistake was “a human error.”
“We sincerely apologise to the Uruguayan Federation, the Uruguay National Team, to the people of Uruguay and to the fans for this mistake,” the statement read. “We will work with all parties involved to ensure such an error does not occur again.”
Mexico then made a lightning start with the fastest goal of the tournament so far in their first incursion into the Uruguay penalty area in the fourth minute.
Hector Herrera and Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira both leapt to meet Andres Guardado’s curling cross from the left with the defender heading into his own net.
Uruguay, who had Matias Vecino dismissed on the stroke of half time after a second booking for a foul on Jesus Corona, equalised in the 74th minute from the free kick awarded when Guard a do was also shown a second yellow card.
Carlos Sanchez, the man Guardado brought down, hit the free kick into the box where captain Diego Godin headed past Alfredo Talavera to put the record 15-times champions back on level.
Mexico, however, had the last word when their captain Rafael Marquez scored a fine goal from a corner, finding the top corner of Fernando Muslera’s net with an angled shot from the right.
Uruguay defender Jose Maria Gimenez could face disciplinary action after he was accused of insulting Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio after the defeat.
Incensed Uruguayans surrounded the referee after the game and, according to O so rio,Gimenez made his feelings known to him as he left the field. “This behaviour should not be accepted from a professional footballer,” the coach said. “It is impetuous, inappropriate behaviour from a professional who not only plays in one of the best teams in the world -- Atletico Madrid - but also in one of the best national teams in the world.