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    Mexico thump Uruguay to take third spot

    Caracas (Venezuela): Mexico exploited the 38th-minute expulsion of Uruguayan captain Diego Lugano for three goals and rallied for a 3-1 victory that gave El Tri third place at the Copa America.

    Cuauhtemoc Blanco converted the penalty to equalise after Lugano was issued a red card for elbowing Gerardo Torrado, and Omar Bravo and Andres Guardado added second-half goals to assure Mexico of finishing third or better in four of the last five South American championships.

    Sebastian Abreu gave Uruguay the lead in the 22nd minute, heading in Maximiliano Pereira's cross.

    But after Blanco equalised, Bravo lifted a shot over the hands of goalkeeper Fabian Carini, who was racing off his line, in the 68th minute, and Guardado sealed the victory with a left-footed shot from 25 metres in the 76th.

    Mexico finished third in 1997 and 1999 and lost to Colombia in the 2001 final.

    El Tri, which lost to the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup two days before the start of the Copa America, has reached the semi-finals five of the seven times it has been invited to the South American championships as a guest.

    Coming off its penalty-kick loss to Brazil in the semi-finals, Uruguay struggled after Lugano's expulsion to maintain possession and feed attacker Diego Forlan.

    Uruguay came to Venezuela with a strong, Europe-based team, eager to claim a record 15th title.

    "We played a good game, started out dominating, and then in one minute everything changed," said Uruguayan coach Oscar Tabarez.

    Mexico lost 3-0 to Argentina on Wednesday to set up the third-place match against the Uruguayans.