Cristian Rodriguez scored Uruguay's winner against Jamaica ©Getty Images

Uruguay made a winning start in their bid to retain the Copa América, snatching a 1-0 win against Jamaica in Antofagasta, Chile.

Cristian Rodriguez’s close-range finish shortly after half-time proved to be decisive as the competition’s most successful nation began their quest for a 16th title.

Venezuelan referee Jose Argote turned away Uruguay’s appeals for a penalty midway through the first half after Paris Saint-Germain striker Edison Cavani appeared to be tugged back by opposition centre-back Michael Hector.

Jamaica’s Darren Mattocks had a chance to break the deadlock down at the other end with half-time fast approaching, but despite finding himself through on goal he was forced wide by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and missed the target.

Chances were at a premium for Uruguay in the first half, but they got off to the perfect start in the second as Atletico Madrid winger Rodriguez put them into the lead just seven minutes after the restart.

The 29-year-old poked the ball home for his first international goal in 19 months after Jose Maria Gimenez had headed Nicolas Lodeiro's free-kick back across goal.

Jamaica could have equalised almost immediately with Muslera out of position after Uruguay failed to clear a long ball, however Giles Barnes’ shot from the edge of the area went harmlessly wide.

Christian Stuani ought to have put the game beyond doubt late on, firing over the crossbar with the goal gaping, but it didn’t matter ultimately.

Paraguay's Lucas Barrios denied Argentina victory with a late equaliser
Paraguay's Lucas Barrios denied Argentina victory with a late equaliser ©Getty Images

Meanwhile in the other Group B encounter, Paraguay scored late on against Argentina to earn a 2-2 draw in La Serena

Sergio Aguero put Argentina into the lead before Lionel Messi's successfully converted penalty doubled their advantage, but Paraguay fought back and took a share of the spoils after Lucas Barrios’ 90th minute goal added to Nelson Valdez’s strike on the hour mark.

It was an impressive result for Paraguay against a team who finished runners-up at last year’s FIFA World Cup. 

Group C is due to take centre stage tomorrow with Colombia playing Venezuela and five-time world champions Brazil facing Peru.

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