Peru upset Colombia to reach Copa semis

CORDOBA, Argentina, (Reuters) – Unfancied Peru  shocked Colombia 2-0 on Saturday to reach the Copa America  semi-finals after midfielders Carlos Lobaton and Juan Vargas  scored in extra time.

The Colombians should have taken the lead with a penalty in  the 66th minute but striker Radamel Falcao put the ball wide.

With game 0-0 at the end of 90 minutes, Colombia goalkeeper  Luis Martinez spilled the ball when he came out at a Vargas free  kick and substitute Lobaton fired into the roof of the net to  put Peru ahead in the 12th minute of extra time.

Ten minutes later, with Colombia pressing for an equaliser,  striker Paolo Guerrero took possession in a counter-attack and  passed to man-of-the-match Vargas, who rifled home.

Carlos Lobaton

“We have to recognise that if (Colombia) had slotted in the  penalty it would have been a different match,” Peru coach Sergio  Markarian said at a news conference.

Markarian said that in extra time his team produced their  best 30 minutes of the tournament so far. “The tactic was to  give Paolo (Guerrero) more support (up front),” he said.
Peru, who qualified from the group phase as the best  third-placed team, will meet hosts Argentina or Uruguay in the  semi-finals.

“We’ve taken a big step, not so much towards the Copa but  towards the World Cup. This will unite us,” Markarian said of  his first efforts to revive the Peru team after years of  disappointment.

The first real chance came after half an hour when Falcao  shot just over from winger Dayro Moreno’s pass after a rare  error from central defender Alberto Rodriguez.

Then Peru’s right winger William Chiroque began causing big  problems for the Colombia defence. In the 34th minute, he  crossed low to Vargas and the Peru captain’ shot from 20 metres  forced Martinez to dive and push the ball wide.

Peru keeper Raul Fernandez then dived at Falcao’s feet to  make the save while at the other end Colombia captain Mario  Yepes’s diving header cleared a dangerous cross from Guerrero.
A shot from Chiroque went close and Colombia scrambled away  a couple more Peruvian half-chances early in the second half  before creating some scoring chances themselves.

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