Colombia advance to first Copa Amrica semi-final since 2004 after prevailing in tense shootout
David Ospina made an outstanding flying kick save in a shootout, Christian Cueva sent Perus final attempt over the crossbar and Colombia reached the Copa America semi-finals for the first time since 2004 with a 4-2 victory on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie Friday night.
James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Dayro Moreno converted the first three penalty kicks for Colombia, beating goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, and Raul Ruidiaz, Renato Tapia made the first two for Peru.
Hoping to stay even after three rounds, Miguel Trauco sent a kick down the middle as Ospina dived to his left. The Arsenal goalkeeper, parallel to the ground, raised his trailing right leg to kick the ball away.
Sabastian Perez converted Colombias fourth kick, and Cueva had a nervous look on his face as he walked up to the penalty spot and exhaled deeply.
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 the Cueva to console the 24-year-old midfielder.
Third-ranked Colombia, which won its only Copa title at home in 2001, play Wednesday in Chicago against the winner of Saturday nights quarter-final between Mexico and defending champion Chile. The United States face Argentina or Venezuela at Houston on Tuesday in the first semi-final of the expanded tournament, played with 16 nations from throughout the Americas to celebrate the events 100th anniversary.
Before a sellout crowd of 79,194 at MetLife Stadium, Ospina also made an outstanding save in the second minute of second-half stoppage time. Cueva took just the second corner kick for Peru of the night and Ospina leaped to tip Christian Ramos header over the crossbar.
Ranked 48th, Peru had advanced from the group stage with a controversial goal on a hand ball that knocked out Brazil.
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 and bounded out. Carlos Bacca sent the rebound into the side netting.
Neither nation managed a shot on target in the first half, and each had just one on the second. Play became more open in the last 15 minutes as teams tried to avoid a shootout. Under the tournaments rules, extra time is used only for the final, so the teams went straight to penalty kicks.