Uruguay booked a spot in the Copa America final for the first time since 1999 after defeating Peru 2-0 in their semi-final on Tuesday.Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored two goals in the space of five second-half minutes to win the game for Uruguay, with Peru playing the last 20 minutes with 10 men after captain Juan Vargas received a straight red card for an elbow on Sebastian Coates.
A win in Sunday’s final would see Uruguay become the most successful nation in Copa America history with 15 titles.
Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay were on the front foot from the outset at the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, with their forward pairing of Suarez and Diego Forlan causing headaches for the Peruvian defence.
The 2010 World Cup semi-finalists controlled the tempo, but could not find a way past Peruvian goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, who pulled off several excellent saves.
And when Alvaro Pereira finally got the ball into the back of the net after bundling home a free kick from close range, the goal was ruled out for offside.
Peru would have been pleased to make it to the interval on level terms, but that feeling of satisfaction did not last long after the break as Suarez put Uruguay ahead on 53 minutes.
Diego Forlan found space just outside the area and unleashed a dipping left-footed shot which Fernandez could only parry into Suarez’s path, who turned the ball in from a tight angle to give Uruguay a deserved lead.
Five minutes later it was 2-0 when Pereira delivered a lofted ball in front of Suarez, who rounded Fernandez and finished into an open net.
Challenges continued to fly in what had been an ill-tempered clash, but Vargas went too far on 69 minutes when he lashed out at Coates with his elbow with the referee just metres away.
The captain received his marching orders, and from then on Peru were never going to be able to fight their way back into the contest.
Paraguay will play Venezuela on Wednesday for the right to face Uruguay in the final.