A rollercoaster affair and a tense tussle. The first pair of quarterfinal showdowns at Copa America 2021 was pure theater.
Two nations punched their tickets to the semifinals of the CONMEBOL competition on Friday in an eventful night of action that may just have birthed the game of the tournament. Peru survived Paraguay in an absolute thriller that was decided by penalty kicks while 10-man Brazil squeaked by Chile in a tight encounter.
Here is how Friday’s quarterfinals at Copa America 2021 went:
Peru 3 (4), Paraguay 3 (3)
(Gustavo Gomez (OG) 21′, Gianluca Lapadula 40′, Yoshimar Yotun 80′) — (Gustavo Gomez 11′, Junior Alonso 54′, Gabriel Avalos 90′)
Agony, ecstasy, twists, and turns. The first quarterfinal match had it all — and then some.
Peru outlasted Paraguay in a dramatic encounter that was decided 4-3 on penalty kicks after a rollercoaster 3-3 draw in regulation. The two teams traded blows in the seesaw affair at Estadio Olimpico Pedro Ludovico in Goiania, with each of the sides coming from behind to pull level in different moments while also finishing with 10 men.
Paraguay took an early lead through Gustavo Gomez, who canceled out his opener with an own goal shortly thereafter prior to getting sent off late in the first half. Peru had gone ahead before halftime via Gianluca Lapadula, but La Albirroja pulled level early in the second half despite the man disadvantage.
Peru reclaimed the lead with what looked to be an 80th-minute winner from Yoshimar Yotun, but an Andre Carrillo ejection opened the door for Paraguay to tie things up again through Gabriel Avalos in the waning moments. The ensuing penalty shootout went to sudden death after both teams missed chances, but Miguel Trauco converted the decisive shot for La Blanquirroja in the sixth round of takes after Pedro Gallese denied Alberto Espinola.
The penalty that sealed Peru's trip to the Copa America semifinals 🎟🇵🇪 pic.twitter.com/mlMUz3uaXo
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2021
Brazil 1, Chile 0
(Lucas Paqueta 46′)
Brazil kept on rolling towards a successful title defense, but this win came under nervy circumstances.
A 10-man Brazil narrowly edged Chile by a 1-0 mark in their meeting at Estadio Olimpico Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiero. The lone goal came in the 46th minute off a finish from Lucas Paqueta from close range, but La Verde-amarela lost Gabriel Jesus to a red card just two minutes later for a high kick on Eugenio Mena.
La Roja nearly produced an equalizer in the 68th minute when Mena flicked a looping header off the crossbar, but that was as close as the team got vs. a resolute Brazil that remains unbeaten in the tournament.
Lucas Paquetá tira pared con Neymar y define cruzado sobre Bravo
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) July 3, 2021