Birthday boy Darwin Nunez answers critics with goal in opening Copa America game

Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez scored a NINTH Uruguay goal in only his last SIX international games as Marcelo Bielsa’s side defeated Panama in their opening match of the 2024 Copa America. 

Uruguay are favourites to top Group C, with hosts United States defeating Bolivia in the other game, 2-0.

Nunez, who turns 25 today, is on an amazing run of form under Bielsa for the national team and will be hoping to take his strong recent goalscoring run back to the Premier League for his club side next season. 

The Liverpool frontman, sporting a bold new look, missed a couple of earlier, more achievable chances at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami but was on target with five minutes of the second half to go. 

He was on hand to double Uruguay’s lead, after Ronald Araujo had earlier put la Celeste ahead, volleying home from inside the area. 

Nunez capitalised on a loose ball in the box after a Maximiliano Araujo header ricocheted off a Panama defender. 

Matias Vina scored a late third before Panama replied with a consolation to make it 3-1. 

Nunez now has 12 goals in 24 Uruguay caps and his international career has really caught light under ex-Leeds manager Bielsa. 

The former Benfica forward has scored against both Brazil and Argentina in 2026 World Cup qualification matches and added a hat-trick in the pre-Copa America warm-up match against Mexico

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Bielsa has ordered Nunez to play close to the opposition goal, taking up positions inside the area where he can snaffle close range chances. 

The Argentine has managed to unlock perhaps the best form of Darwin’s career thus far and it will be interesting to see if Arne Slot takes a leaf out of El Loco’s book for Liverpool next season.

Nunez's difficult end of season run

Reviews of Nunez’s overall performance on the night were mixed across social media and in the press but as long as he keeps hitting the net he will have an answer for his critics. 

Nunez finished the season in poor form for Liverpool, losing a starting place to Cody Gakpo and suffering widespread and unwarranted abuse across his social media profiles

There had been some uncertainty over the Uruguayan’s future with Barcelona appearing interested but it looks likely that Darwin remains at Liverpool, where he is under contract until 2028. 

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