Riquelme double inspires Argentina to win over Peru

Updated: 2007-07-09 08:53

BARQUISIMENTO, Venezuela, July 8 - Juan Roman Riquelme scored two goals and set up another with a stunning pass as Argentina routed Peru 4-0 in their Copa America quarter-final on Sunday.

Peru had held out until halftime but Riquelme broke the deadlock with an outstanding goal and then provided an equally impressive pass for Lionel Messi to add the second.

Javier Mascherano and Riquelme added two more as the tournament favourites earned a semi-final tie against Mexico.

Peru were gifted an early chance when Gabriel Heinze gave the ball away on the edge of his own penalty area but Paulo Guerrero's shot went over.

Guerrero was a headache for the Argentina defence and Roberto Ayala was lucky not to be sent off for pulling him down when he had a clear run on goal.

Messi, given a rapturous reception by the crowd, had Argentina's best first-half chances, hitting the post in the 18th minute with a shot that deflected off goalkeeper Leao Butron and then having another cleared off the line by Edgar Villamarin.

Argentina introduced Carlos Tevez for Diego Milito at halftime and shortly after the restart Riquelme, running across the face of the area, collected a pass in his stride and scored with a powerful low drive into the bottom left-hand corner.

Tevez then headed against the crossbar before Riquelme sliced open the Peru defence with a slide-rule pass and found Messi, who eluded Butron to score his first goal of the tournament in the 61st minute.

Mascherano, who scored his first Argentina goal in the 1-0 win over Paraguay on Thursday, hit the target for the second game in a row as he snapped up a rebound in the 75th minute.

Argentina were not finished and scored the fourth goal from a stunning counter attack started by Roberto Abbondanzieri, who raced out of his goal and found Tevez with a pass down the touchline.

Tevez held off his marker and laid the ball off to Riquelme, who nonchalantly added the fourth.

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