Copa America 2011: Peru Defeats Colombia 2-0 in Extra Time
Carlos Lobatón and Juan Vargas scored in extra time to help unfancied Peru beat Colombia 2-0 and reach the semi-finals of the Copa América for the first time since 1997 when they finished fourth.
Lobaton fired a powerful shot from just inside the penalty area in the 101st minute after the Colombian goalkeeper Luis Martinez committed a mistake and fellow midfielder Juan Manuel Vargas sealed the victory with a shot from near the penalty spot in the 111th.
“We took a big step today,” Peru coach Sergio Markarian said.
Colombia, one of the title contenders, started the match on a bright note and created several opportunities. Abel Aguilar shot one just wide of the far post early on, before Falcao shots just missed the bar by a whisker. Raúl Fernández also had to dive bravely at Falcao’s feet to deny the dangerous striker.
Peru slowly came back into the game and had their first shot on target after the half-hour mark forcing the Colombian Goalkeeper Luis Martínez to come up with a brilliant save.
Hernán Darío Gómez’s boys continued their dominion even after the break and had several chances to take the lead. They had the best chance to break the scoreless deadlock in the regulation, but star striker Radamel Falcao failed to convert a penalty kick in the 65th, sending a low right-footed shot wide left.
“It came down to scoring. We couldn’t capitalize,” Colombia coach Hernan Dario Gomez said. “It came to details, because we have the scorers. Falcao never misses, he never misses.”
Peru also missed few chances had it not been for Goalkeeper Luis Martínez who came up with another brilliant save to push over Adan Balbín’s dipping shot from 25 yards. They however were lucky to be stretch into extra time after Fredy Guarín beat two Peru defenders and forced Fernández into a good save.
Having survived that scare, Peru took full advantage in extra time. After 102 minutes they were gifted the opener when Martínez came to collect a free-kick by Vargas, only to spill it at the feet of Lobatón, who blasted the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.
Ten minutes later, with Colombia pressing for an equaliser, striker Guerrero took possession in a counterattack and passed to Vargas, who rifled the ball home to seal a famous victory for Peru.
Peru, who qualified from their group as the best third-placed team, will now face Uruguay in the Semi-final who defeated Argentina 5-4 on penalties after they were tied 1-1 after 120 minutes of action.