Colombian boys spoil home party, beat hosts in Copa America opener
The game got off to an explosive start as in the 8th minute itself, Colombia managed to get a goal up on the scoreboard. Cardona put a terrific ball in from the corner which Zapata picked escaping Cameron’s marking and shot a volley home.
A stunned US launched a counter- attack. For most of the first half, US had the higher possession rate but what worked against them was how they complicated their moves with excessive passing. It looked like barring Bradley and Dempsey, none were willing to take the final call.
Colombia, on the other hand, did make dangerous moves up front. Cardona, in a moment of magic, created a chance for himself out of nothing. He took a smart turn inside the penalty area to make room for himself to shoot but it was too close to Guzan and the US goalkeeper managed to avert disaster.
Towards the end of the first half, in the 40th minute, Colombia were awarded a penalty for a handball by Yedlin in the penalty box. A controversial decision by the referee as the handball didn’t seem to be deliberate because Yedlin wasn’t really looking at the ball. Nonetheless, Colombia grabbed the opportunity and in the 42nd minute, James Rodriguez calmly took the penalty kick in the right bottom corner, sending Guzan the wrong way.
The second half began and early on, Colombia came tantalisingly close to scoring a third when Cardona struck magic from a distance which was rebounded by Guzan in the danger area. Bacca tried to leap on to it while Cameron was napping.
In the 62nd minute, Dempsey got to the end of a corner ball and headed it towards the goal but Arias kicked it away. Cameron tried to follow up, but his header got deflected wide.
The hosts earned a free-kick in the 64th minute and Dempsey took a beautiful curling strike towards the top right corner but Ospina leapt high and brilliantly ushered it away with his strong hands. This was definitely USA’s best chance at scoring.
In the 70th minute, James Rodriguez fell awkwardly on his hand and injured his shoulder after which he was immediately substituted with Guillermo Celis. The man is extremely important for Colombia and they would hope it’s nothing serious.
Rest of the match saw a similar pattern and as the full-time whistle blew, Colombia comfortably walked away with the important three points.