CORDOBA - Unfancied Peru
shocked Colombia 2-0 on Saturday to reach the Copa America
semi-finals after midfielders Carlos Lobaton and Juan Vargas
scored in extra-time.
The Colombians should have taken the lead with a penalty in
the 66th minute but striker Radamel Falcao put the ball wide.
With game 0-0 at the end of 90 minutes, Colombia goalkeeper
Luis Martinez spilled the ball when he came out at a Vargas free-kick and substitute Lobaton fired into the roof of the net to
put Peru ahead in the 12th minute of extra-time.
Ten minutes later, with Colombia pressing for an equaliser,
striker Paolo Guerrero took possession in a counter-attack and
passed to man-of-the-match Vargas, who rifled home.
"We have to recognise that if [Colombia] had slotted in the
penalty it would have been a different match," Peru coach Sergio
Markarian said at a news conference.
Markarian said that in extra-time his team produced their
best 30 minutes of the tournament so far. "The tactic was to
give Paolo [Guerrero] more support [up front]," he said.
Peru, who qualified from the group phase as the best
third-placed team, will meet Uruguay in the
"We've taken a big step, not so much towards the Copa but
towards the World Cup. This will unite us," Markarian said of
his first efforts to revive the Peru team after years of
The first real chance came after half an hour when Falcao
shot just over from winger Dayro Moreno's pass after a rare
error from central defender Alberto Rodriguez.
Then Peru's right winger William Chiroque began causing big
problems for the Colombia defence. In the 34th minute, he
crossed low to Vargas and the Peru captain' shot from 20 metres
forced Martinez to dive and push the ball wide.
Peru keeper Raul Fernandez then dived at Falcao's feet to
make the save while at the other end Colombia captain Mario
Yepes's diving header cleared a dangerous cross from Guerrero.
A shot from Chiroque went close and Colombia scrambled away
a couple more Peruvian half-chances early in the second half
before creating some scoring chances themselves.
Yepes found Moreno with a good ball out of defence but the
winger shot wide before Rodriguez fouled Moreno in the box but
Falcao struck his penalty wide.
Two minutes later, another break by Colombia ended with
Moreno hitting the bar with a fierce right-footed shot.
Going into the final 10 minutes, Peru midfielder Adan Balbin
had a dipping shot from 25 metres tipped over by Martinez.
Midfielder Fredy Guarin almost scored two minutes into added-time when he jinked past two defenders on the left, cut in and
shot with Fernandez tipping the ball over the bar for a corner.
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