In the absence of James Rodríguez, there is Luis Díaz. Colombia, as unstable as it is persistent, has found a prize for the evolution of its game. Against Peru, the coffee growers took third place in the Copa América by winning it 3-2, in the last minute. The biggest prize for Reinaldo Rueda’s team is Lucho Díaz, in sprinter mode, acrobat and last minute scorer.
Peru is still under the mantle of Ricardo Gareca, who returned Peru to a World Cup after 36 years. In 2019 he led the team to the final of the Copa América and this time they reached the semifinals. The team is not overwhelming, although it appeals to caution. The indelible mark has been to look for some whiplash, some backlash. Against Colombia he looked shy to go on the attack. This is what they tried with Gianluca Lapadula who tried a left-footed shot that passed to the side of the goal. In a flash, the Peruvians surprised.
Both Peru and Colombia had consequences of having played seven games in this Copa América empty of fans. The Peruvian Renato Tapia had to leave the court due to physical discomfort before the first 30 minutes. Peru was not interested in possession of the ball, but it did hurt in the few opportunities. Sergio Peña gave the ball from the right side to the attack with Christian Cueva, who was waiting for a hole in the area. Lapadula, the nine Born in Turin, he cheated the Brazilian defense and left everything for Yoshimar Yotún to finish off the net.
Rueda tested on his board with some footballers who had been substitutes in the tournament. The heroic David Ospina received rest, but not the indefatigable Juan Guillermo Cuadrado and Luis Díaz. He also sent Edwin Cardona to the field, one of those 10 classics who stand out for his fine foot, but not for his physical performance. It only lasted the first 45 minutes.
Colombian Luis Díaz wanted to surprise Peru with an acrobatic goal. The Porto footballer, who had already scored a scissor goal against Brazil, held back the cry of goal after a good save from Gallese. It was a warning. The coffee growers found the goal in a free kick. Captain Cuadrado beat the barrier that was opened so that the trajectory of the ball ended at the bottom of the goal.
Peru tried to respond with a Lapadula that kicked at the door after outwitting Davinson Sánchez and it all ended up on the crossbar. Luis Díaz made it 2-1 after a steal of the ball that corresponded to Peru in a free kick. The goalkeeper, Camilo Vargas, put a precise pass to Díaz who controlled the ball with his shoulder to finish off the goal.
Peru, who seemed knocked out, got off the canvas. With eight minutes remaining, Lapadula came out of the tide of defenders to finish off with the mask that protected his face for the tie. It was his third goal. Frustration for Colombia, or so it seemed. Just at the last minute Luis Díaz took the ball and conceded it into the goal. Fourth annotation in the tournament, the same goals that Messi has made.
Rueda, in third place, finds oxygen and momentum to face the World Cup qualifying rounds. “What the teacher has done is to be admired, you have to believe in what he is proposing,” Cuadrado said after the game. Colombia is reunited with happiness.
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