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Copa America: Colombia beats Peru in penalties to advance to semis

Copa America: Colombia beats Peru in penalties to advance to semis

Posted by PanamericanWorld on June 18, 2016

David Ospina made an outstanding flying kick save in a shootout, Christian Cueva sent Peru's final attempt over the crossbar and Colombia reached the Copa America semifinals for the first time since 2004 with a 4-2 victory on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie on Friday.

James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Dayro Moreno converted the first three penalty kicks for Colombia, beating goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. Raul Ruidiaz and Renato Tapia were successful on the first two attempts for Peru.

Hoping to stay even after three rounds, Miguel Trauco sent a kick down the middle as Ospina dived to his left. The goalkeeper, parallel to the ground, raised his trailing right leg to kick the ball away.

"We, goalkeepers, have the advantage that we can use any part of the body," said Ospina, Petr Cech's backup with Arsenal. "What matters is to stop the ball — with the ears, the nose, whatever. We, goalkeepers, have many resources."

Sabastian Perez converted Colombia's fourth kick before Cueva walked up to the penalty spot and exhaled deeply with a nervous look on his face.

Cueva skied his kick over the crossbar. Colombian players ran out to celebrate with Ospina, who pumped both arms several times. Cueva contorted his face in pain and covered it with both hands. Ospina walked over to console the 24-year-old midfielder.

'A greater obligation'

Colombia, ranked by FIFA as No. 3 in the world, won its only Copa title at home in 2001. The South American squad plays Wednesday in Chicago against the winner of Saturday's quarter-final between Mexico and defending champion Chile.

"We came into this match feeling a greater obligation," Colombia coach Jose Peckerman said.

The United States faces Argentina or Venezuela in Houston on Tuesday in the first semifinal of the expanded tournament, involving 16 countries from throughout the Americas to celebrate the event's 100th anniversary.

Before a sellout crowd of 79,194 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Ospina also made an outstanding save in the second minute of second-half stoppage time. Cueva took just the second corner kick of the night for Peru and Ospina leaped to tip Christian Ramos' header over the crossbar.

Not a pretty game

Ranked 48th, Peru had advanced from the group stage with a controversial goal on what appeared to be a hand ball that eliminated Brazil.

"Being eliminated on penalties hurts even more," said Peru coach Ricardo Gareca, who overhauled his team and used a mostly young roster in the tournament. "It was the least pretty game of all we played."

Before an overwhelmingly pro-Colombia crowd wearing mostly yellow, Rodriguez had the best chance of the first half, taking a layoff from Edwin Cardona in the 22nd minute, dribbling through the midfield and curling a 23-yard right-footed shot that bounced off the inside of a post. Carlos Bacca sent the rebound into the side netting.

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