Colombia Overcomes Brazil in Copa America 2015


Los Cafeteros came out on top in their Group C clash in Santiago in a re-run of the 2014 World Cup quarter-final


Jeison Murillo was the unlikely hero as Colombia recorded only the third victory in their history over Brazil to bring Dunga’s 11-match winning run to a shuddering halt, with Neymar shown a red card following the final whistle of an encounter which finished in fractious fashion.

The Seleção’s captain and talisman had already been booked to rule him out of their Group C finale against Venezuela on Sunday, before he appeared to aim a headbutt at Murillo after the final whistle, sparking a melee between the two teams in which Carlos Bacca also saw red.

In their 27 previous international meetings, los Cafeteros had recorded just two victories against Brazil, the last of those coming back in 1991, but they claimed a deserved success at Estadio Monumental in Santiago in a match which simmered throughout before reaching boiling point at the finale.

The only goal of the game came in the 36th minute when Juan Cuadrado’s free-kick from out on the right caused chaos in the Brazil box with defender Murillo on hand to sweep a low shot beyond Jefferson’s despairing dive and into the bottom corner of the net for his first goal for his country.

Cuadrado came close to making it 2-0 in the second period with a superb run and curling shot which flashed just wide, while Roberto Firmino produced one of the misses of the tournament as he inexplicably fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy following an error from Ospina.

Neymar had been cautioned in the first half for deliberate handball following a good save from the Colombia No.1 and was perhaps fortunate to stay on the field on more than one occasion, before his moment of madness after the final whistle.

Having at times struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 30 minutes, Colombia hit the front in the 36th minute when Brazil failed to deal with Cuadrado’s free-kick.

The Chelsea attacking midfielder whipped in his delivery from the right and the ball bobbled around on the edge of the six-yard box before falling to Murillo, who struck it sweetly on the turn from near the penalty spot.

After last year’s World Cup quarter-final between the two sides was marred by regular fouls on James Rodríguez and Neymar, with the latter suffering a fractured vertebra after a barge from behind by Juan Camilo Zúñiga, it was little surprise Wednesday’s game ended with 39 fouls.

Tensions boiled over after the final whistle, with the teams having to be separated, with the referee showing red cards to both Neymar and Colombia substitute Bacca.

It was also the Barcelona forward who had two of Brazil’s best chances to score, heading straight at Ospina just before half-time and dragging his shot wide when clear through on goal two minutes after the break.

In a high-tempo first half, Brazil shaded possession, although Colombia produced more shots as they focused on counter-attacking, with neither goalkeeper too busy.

After Murillo gave Colombia the lead, however, José Pékerman’s team took control with Radamel Falcao and Teófilo Gutiérrez both missing chances.

Shouts of “ole” rang out from the Colombia fans soon after as James and his team-mates strung passes together at will, before Cuadrado shot wide from 18 yards.

But Colombia were lucky to lead at the break after Neymar failed to put Dani Alves’ cross past Ospina.

uadrado could have made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute when he cut in from the right, while Roberto Firmino wasted a glorious opportunity to level the match six minutes later, blazing over the bar after Ospina slipped with the goal at his mercy.

James was just denied what would have been a deserved second goal for Colombia in the 90th minute as his rasping drive flew across goal and just wide of Jefferson’s post.

But having lost their Copa América opener to Venezuela 1-0, Colombia clearly needed the win more, with Pekerman’s side defending desperately throughout the final 30 minutes to join Brazil and the Venezuelans on three points in Group C.

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