Colombia secures a 1-0 victory over Uruguay and advances to the Copa America final, where they will meet Lionel Messi’s Argentina

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Colombia players celebreates after winning the game1

Colombia secured their spot in the Copa America final for the first time in 23 years with a hard-fought victory over Uruguay, despite playing the entire second half with one player less and facing a brawl with fans after the game.

Jefferson Lerma scored the only goal in the 39th minute on Wednesday night, setting up a showdown with Lionel Messi and defending champions Argentina on Sunday.

Colombia’s coach Nester Lorenzo, speaking through an interpreter, emphasized the team’s growth through overcoming challenges: “Until you overcome your weaknesses you cannot grow.”

Daniel Muñoz’s first-half red card didn’t deter Colombia, who defended resiliently despite Uruguay’s 61.9% possession. This victory marks Colombia’s first final since winning the Copa America as hosts in 2001.

The Colombian team extended their unbeaten streak to a record 28 games, the longest current streak in men’s international soccer, showcasing their hunger and tactical prowess.

The match was marred by a total of seven yellow cards and a post-game scuffle involving players from both teams. Darwin Núñez and several Uruguay teammates confronted fans, with video footage showing Núñez involved in a physical altercation with a fan in Colombian team colors.

Luis Suarez reacts after missing a shoot

CONMEBOL issued a statement strongly condemning any violence affecting the game after the incident. “Our belief is that soccer brings people together with its positive values,” the organization stated.

“There’s no room for intolerance and violence on or off the field. We encourage everyone to channel their passion into supporting their national teams and enjoying an unforgettable celebration in the remaining days.”

Defending champions Argentina and Colombia will face off in the tournament final in Miami Gardens, Florida. Argentina aims for a record 16th Copa title and hopes to join Spain (2008-2012) as the only country to win three consecutive major championships.

Uruguay will stay in Charlotte to play Canada in the third-place match on Saturday night.

Playing before a predominantly pro-Colombia crowd of 70,644 at Bank of America Stadium, Uruguay fell behind for the first time in the tournament.

James Rodríguez’s corner kick was headed in by Lerma from close range, outjumping José María Giménez for his third international goal and second of the tournament. Rodríguez has provided six assists in the tournament, triple the total of any other player.

Muñoz received his first yellow card in the 31st minute for a reckless tackle on Maximiliano Araújo and his second for elbowing Manuel Ugarte in the stomach.

Colombia players celebreates after winning the game

Rodríguez received a yellow card in the 55th minute for disputing with referee César Ramos after play continued despite Richard Ríos being kicked on the shin by Darwin Núñez.

Ríos was stretchered off, returned to the match, then went down again in another challenge and was substituted in the 62nd minute. Rodríguez was also substituted at the same time to ensure his availability for the final.

Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas didn’t face his first shot until stopping Nicolás de la Cruz in the 68th minute.

Luis Suárez, Uruguay’s top scorer with 68 goals, came on in the 66th minute and hit the outside of the post with a shot in the 71st minute. He reacted with disappointment, holding his head in his hands.

“We had chances to change the game, but we didn’t capitalize on them,” Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa said. “We needed to create more scoring opportunities.”

Colombia’s Mateus Uribe, who came on as a substitute in the second half, missed an open shot wide in the 88th minute. In stoppage time, another shot by Uribe deflected off goalkeeper Sergio Rochet’s body and then hit the crossbar.

In a desperate attempt to score, Uruguay pushed goalkeeper Sergio Rochet into Colombia’s attacking half in the final minute.

James Rodriguez celebrates after winning the game

The match was played in 90-degree heat on a field that was changed from artificial turf to grass just weeks before the game.

Players from the NFL’s Carolina Panthers have criticized the use of artificial turf in soccer matches, noting that playing on grass is a better option. They believe playing on artificial turf increases the risk of injuries during NFL games.

With two games remaining, attendance of 1.48 million is only 1,663 spectators short of the total for the 2016 tournament in the United States.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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