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Jul 10, 2024 10:24 pm

10-man Colombia edges Uruguay, advances to Copa final

Colombia, Uruguay

Jefferson Lerma headed in James Rodriguez’s corner kick late in the first half and 10-man Colombia held on to reach its first Copa America final in 23 years with a 1-0 victory over Uruguay on Wednesday in Charlotte.

Colombia was considerably the better team for the opening 45 minutes, only to be forced to hold on after Daniel Munoz received his second booking for an elbow thrown into Manuel Ugarte’s torso in first-half stoppage time.

Los Cafeteros set a national record by completing a 28th consecutive match without defeat, pushed on through the second half by a significantly pro-Colombian crowd of more than 70,000. Colombia advances to face defending champion Argentina in Miami Gardens, Fla., in the final on Sunday night.

Rodriguez now has six assists, the most in a single Copa America since the stat was first kept in 2011. The 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner will try to deliver his nation its second-ever Copa America title after it hosted and won the 2001 event.

Uruguay will remain in Charlotte to face Canada in Saturday’s third-place match, in what will be La Celeste’s best finish at the tournament since winning the 2011 title.

After winning all three of its group-stage games, Uruguay did not score in either of its knockout-phase matches, ending influential manager Marcelo Bielsa’s latest bid at a first major title in international play.

Lerma put Colombia in front in the 39th minute after Rodriguez delivered the latest in a tournament full of perfectly struck set pieces.

This one came from a corner dropped onto Lerma’s head at the back post. Lerma outjumped Jose Maria Gimenez to send his header downward, narrowly inside the left post before Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet could react.

A great start for Los Cafeteros became far more complicated seven minutes later when Munoz rightly received his second caution from referee Cesar Ramos.

Uruguay all-time leading scorer Luis Suarez entered in the 67th minute and immediately made his presence felt in the 71st, striking the outside of the right post with a shot from just inside the penalty area.

However, the insertion of center back Yerry Mina and switch to a five-man back line by Colombia manager Nestor Lorenzo helped limit Uruguay from there.

Colombia’s Mateus Uribe missed the game’s two best late chances, dragging an 88th-minute opportunity low and wide of the left post and seeing another effort in stoppage time deflect off a charging Rochet and then the crossbar.

–Field Level Media

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