Peru held Colombia to a goal-less draw to enter the quarterfinals of the Copa America from group C. Semifinalist of the last edition in Argentina, Peru now will face Group A runner up Bolivia on June 25.
Colombia, too, advanced to the knock-out phase after Brazil defeated Venezuela 2-1 later to emerge as Group C champions. Hot favorites Argentina awaits Colombia in the 3rd quarterfinal scheduled on 26th June. Brazil faces Paraguay on June 27. Seleção was knocked out by Paraguay in the shoot-out at the same phase of the previous episode of Copa America. Paraguay went on to play the final where they bowed down to champions Uruguay.
The draw between Peru and Colombia eliminated Ecuador, the third placed side from Group A, who also were eying a last eight berth. Two ace strikers of the Colombian squad, Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez had a dismal outing on Sunday at Temuco.
“When you play poorly, you end up paying for it,” said Rodriguez, who won with Colombia during last year’s World Cup held in Brazil.
“We played poorly in the first match and we played poorly today, that’s why we are in trouble. If we want to win anything, we will have to work very hard.”
Rodriguez was lucky to escape with an elbow challenge against Peru’s Luis Advincula while contesting for a ball which was certainly a card offense. The Colombians played aggressively and created a number of opportunities in the initial phases of the game. Peru were defensive, eying a draw to advance.
“We played knowing that they were under pressure, they needed the victory,” defender Carlos Zambrano said. “It was really difficult, but the goal was to advance.”
Brazil shrugged off the absence of super-star Neymar to edge past Venezuela 2-1 in their last group encounter. Thiago Silva drilled in a volley from Robinho’s corner to give the eight-time champions the lead. Roberto Firmino doubled the lead in the second half. Brazil bounced back from a shock 0-1 defeat against Colombia in the last game, and a post-match brawl saw Barcelona star Neymar red-carded and suspended for four games.
Venezuela’s goal came from Rayo Vallecano striker Nicolas Fedor during the 84th minute. The goal came quite late as a 2-2 draw would have taken the last edition’s semifinalists to the knockout stage.