Courageous Colombians Confound Wayward Uruguay

by Ben Ayuko

{image by Getty Images}


Colombia survived a second half siege from Uruguay to book themselves a place in the Copa Final.

Uruguay met Colombia, in what promised to be an interesting matchup, to fight for a place in the Copa Final against World Cup winners Argentina. It was a clash of ideologies with Colombia being a more physical side and Uruguay having more technical players.

Uruguay peppered the Colombia goal with chance after chance in the first half, majority of which fell to their new star man, Darwin Núñez. Núñez, unfortunately, could not find the finishing touch as majority of these chances were wayward efforts that he should really have done better with. Colombia was thriving playing on the counterattack with players like captain, James Rodríguez and Luis Díaz, in particular, showcasing their talents in quick transition. It was one such transition that saw Los Cafeteros travel up the pitch and earn themselves a corner-kick. James Rodríguez lifted the ball into the penalty box and Jefferson Lerma rose highest to head Colombia into the lead. 1-0 to Colombia into the break which would have rounded off the perfect first half performance for their, or really any, manager. were it not for a moment of madness from right-back Daniel Muñoz.

Muñoz got himself into a tussle with Uruguayan midfielder Manuel Ugarte, which ended with him shoving his elbow into Ugarte’s face and the referee, subsequently, shoving a red card into his face, much to the dismay of the Colombia contingent. 1-0 up and 1 man down into the half-time break, they seemingly had to prepare for war by the time they came back out.

And that seems to have been the gist of the team talk they received because, that 10-man Colombia team became heroes, in the face of adversity, for their nation. They played with even more energy. They were even more unrelenting, forcing Uruguay into situations they did not want to be in. Even a legendary substitute appearance by Luis Suárez wasn’t enough to ebb the flow of the game away from Colombia. Of course, it didn’t help that La Celeste had abandoned all footballing principle, resorting to the tried and tested method of simply “having a go“, but it would be difficult to say the Colombians didn’t deserve that final result.

1-0 it ended as Uruguay crashed out of the tournament and Colombia booked their ticket to Florida for the Final.

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