Forlan's Uruguayan reach Copa quarters

LA PLATA, Argentina, July 12, 2011 (AFP) - Veteran striker Diego Forlan on Tuesday celebrated winning a record-equalling 79th cap as an Alvaro Pereira goal secured a 1-0 over Mexico to take the Celeste through to the quarter-finals at the Copa America.

AFP - Diego Forlan(10) walks towards his teammate Diego Perez (on the field) after the team missed a goal

Pereira scored from close range on the quarter hour as Uruguay secured second place in Group C to book a quarter-final with hosts Argentina at Santa Fe on Saturday.

Uruguay finished with five points from their three pool matches, two behind group leaders Chile, who earlier edged Peru also 1-0.

The Peruvians will still play in the quarters as one of the event's best third-placed finishers.

Atletico Madrid star Forlan, voted best player at the last World Cup, can now set a new caps record assuming he plays in the next round which would take him beyond the caps tally of former keeper Rodolfo Rodriguez.

Former Manchester United man Forlan made his debut for the Charruas in 2002 in a pre-World Cup friendly against Saudi Arabia.

The 32-year-old still requires two goals to go level with all-time Uruguayan top scorer Hector Scarone, who netted 31 times between 1920 and 1930 and was an Olympic and world champion.

Although not finding the net Tuesday Forlan was a calming influence as the Uruguayans managed to negotiate an inexperienced Mexican side which went down to its third defeat at the competition, having allowed its seniors to win the Gold Cup last month and then have a summer rest.

And Forlan did have a role in the goal as Mexican keeper Luis Michel spilled the ball following his cross.

Most of the 40,000 crowd at the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata outside Buenos Aires were Uruguayans and they cheered their side through to a first win at the tournament after frustrating draws with Peru and Chile.

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