Colombia beat Peru on penalties to reach Copa America semi-finals
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/06/16 9:55am
Colombia reached the semi-finals of the Copa America Centenario by beating Peru on penalties at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The two teams played out a low-key goalless draw on Friday, Colombia with the better chances until stoppage time, when Peru defender Christian Ramos threatened a dramatic winner.
Colombia's Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina then saved from Miguel Trauco before Christian Cueva's miss handed Colombia a 4-2 win in the shootout to send them through to the last four of the competition for the first time since 2004.
"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and today luck was on our side in the penalties," said Colombia star James Rodriguez.
"Our goal was to get into the semi-finals at least and we've done that. Now we want to win the title."
Carlos Bacca's early run and shot drew a sharp save from Peru keeper Pedro Gallese while at the other end, Paulo Guerrero's cross was headed over by Edison Flores.
The best chance yet came when Colombia captain James curled a shot with his weaker right foot from 20 yards against the base of a post, with Bacca putting the rebound wide from a tight angle.
The rest of the opening period passed in scrappy fashion and that pattern continued after the break as Colombia were given an early free-kick which James curled straight at Gallese.
Bacca headed straight at the keeper while Peru forward Flores drilled a free-kick straight into the wall.
Ramos made a crucial clearance to prevent Cuadrado's cross reaching Bacca and Jeison Murillo headed James' free-kick well wide.
Ospina made a vital stoppage-time save from Ramos' header, taking the game straight to penalties, with Copa America rules specifying no extra time until the final.
He then saved Peru's third penalty, from full-back Trauco, with his right foot before Cueva put the fourth over the bar to send Colombia through.
Ospina believes Colombia can reach the final on June 26.
"I contributed my bit, and we want to keep going from here," Ospina said. "We can get to the final. The semi will be tough regardless of whoever we face."
They will next play either Mexico or defending champions Chile - who meet in the quarters at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on Saturday night - for a place in the final.
The other quarter-final, Argentina v Venezuela, takes place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough earlier in the day, with the winners going on to face hosts USA in the last four.
You can watch the Copa America live on Premier Sports.