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MATURIN, Venezuela, July 8 (Reuters) - Nery Castillo scored twice as Mexico hammered Paraguay 6-0 in their Copa America quarter-final on Sunday after their opponents had their goalkeeper sent off in the fifth minute.
Gerardo Torrado, Fernando Arce and substitutes Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Omar Bravo shared the other goals to hand Paraguay their worst defeat since 1980 when they lost by the same score to Brazil.
Mexico will face either Argentina or Peru in Wednesday’s semi-final.
It was a sad end for Paraguay, who had kicked off the tournament by handing Colombia a 5-0 drubbing and are usually noted for having a strong defence.
“The team is convinced they can have an historic Copa America and I hope we can keep going like this. I know we’re capable of it,” said coach Hugo Sanchez, whose side beat Brazil in the group stages.
The key moment came after only five minutes when Castillo burst into the penalty area and was tripped by goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla’s outstretched leg.
Bobadilla, himself standing in for the injured Justo Villar, was sent off and Paraguay, one of the few teams to bring three goalkeepers, brought on Joel Zayas for his international debut.
Midfielder Jonathan Santana made way for Zayas to come on.
The Bolivian-based keeper’s first job was to pick the ball out of the net as Castillo scored.
Mexico went further ahead in the 27th minute when Juan Carlos Cacho led a counterattack and fed midfielder Torrado who scored with a low shot past Zayas.
Castillo added another in the 38th minute, chesting the ball down and firing home from inside the area for his fourth goal of the tournament.
Mexico added three more in the last 11 minutes through Arce, who scored with a long-range drive, a Blanco penalty and a Bravo header.