FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A controversial goal was the difference between two sides fighting for their tournament lives, leading to the biggest shock of the Copa America Centenario.
Raul Ruidiaz scored in the 75th minute and Peru knocked Brazil out of the tournament via a 1-0 mark at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night. Ruidiaz scored minutes after entering the game as a substitute, but his close-range finish off an Andy Polo cross looked to have come off his hand before finding the back of the net.
Referee Andres Cunha proceeded to discuss the call with his assistant referee, and a lengthy delay that seemed to show the match officials talking on a headset ended with Ruidaz’s goal counting.
With the win, Peru claimed Group B with seven points while Brazil was dropped to third place with four. Ecuador finished in second with five points.
The Brazilians were the better side for much of the 90 minutes, but did not create too many clear-cut chances. Their best opportunity came in the 93rd minute, but Elias was unable to direct a cross past Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Brazil’s failure to find the back of the net proved costly in the end, as Ruidiaz scored 11 minutes after coming into the game as a substitute.
Peru will play Group A runner-up Colombia in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Raul Ruidiaz will get plenty of attention, both positive and negative, for his controversial strike, but goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was Peru’s best player on the night. Gallese came up with five saves against Brazil to keep the Peruvians alive in the game and tournament, and he also did a good job of aggressively coming off his line to gobble up through balls and punch out crosses.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
It will be talked about for days, if not weeks. Peru scored the decisive goal in the 75th minute after Andy Polo’s cross was bundled home by Raul Ruidiaz. Replays seemed to show that the ball did make contact with Ruidiaz’s hand before finding the back of the net, but that will only be part of the conversation after the referees discussed the play at length before allowing the goal to stand.
MATCH TO FORGET
In what could very well be his last game as Brazil head coach, Dunga failed to push the right buttons. His strategy to break down Peru’s back line failed from the start despite Brazil bossing possession, and he made one substitution in the match and none after Ruidiaz scored the controversial winner.