EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For the first time under Jose Pekerman’s helm, Colombia has advanced past the quarterfinals in a major tournament.
Los Cafeteros defeated Peru, 4-2, on penalty kicks after playing a scoreless regulation on Friday in front out of a sold-out crowd of 79,194 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Goalkeeper David Ospina saved Peru’s third attempt in the shootout before Christian Cueva sailed his shot in the fourth round to give Colombia a berth into the semifinals on Wednesday.
James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, Dayro Moreno and Sebastian Perez each scored their respective attempts from the spot for Colombia while Ospina deflected Miguel Trauco’s shot with a kick-save down the middle.
The victory sees Colombia overcome a massive hurdle in this year’s tournament, after being eliminated by Argentina on penalty kicks in 2015 Copa America quarterfinals. Los Cafeteros also fell in their final eight matchup against Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, making Friday’s win all the more special.
The two sides played a physical contest throughout the regulation with few chances generated for either team.
Colombia’s best threat came in the 22nd minute when Rodriguez fired a shot from about 25 yards away with his right foot. The ball curled and rolled straight onto the right post before Carlos Bacca misfired the follow-up.
Peru had a golden opportunity to steal the game late but it was Ospina who played his first act of heroics to keep the game scoreless.
Christian Ramos’ aerial attempt from a corner in the 92nd minute was pushed just over the crossbar by the Colombia goalkeeper before the ensuing corner was cleared to send the game into the shootout.
Colombia will now await the winner between Mexico and Chile in the semifinals that will take place at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Anchoring the Colombian defense and distributing from the midfield, Carlos Sanchez‘s effort allowed his side to continue pushing upfield while remaining confident in its ability to track back when dispossessed.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Peru’s Christian Ramos and a chance to score a late game-winner on a corner kick in the 92nd minute but his aerial attempt was pushed just over the crossbar by a leaping David Ospina. Regulation concluded on the ensuing clearance of another corner by Peru.
MATCH TO FORGET
Colombia’s Carlos Bacca had little effect in the attacking third. The striker gave away several chances after being fed the ball in or around the box. A couple of bad touches also spoiled Los Cafeteros‘ offensive threats.