Uruguay 0-1 Colombia: Dogged Cafeteros dig in to reach Copa America final

By Sports Desk July 10, 2024

Ten-man Colombia held firm as they edged past Uruguay 1-0 to book their place in the Copa America final.

The in-form team looked up to their usual tricks as Jefferson Lerma scored the winner in the first half, but they had to work hard to keep their impressive unbeaten streak alive.

Daniel Munoz's sending off on the stroke of half-time put Colombia under pressure, but they thrived under it, nullifying Uruguay's late attempts to salvage a result in North Carolina.

Chasing just their second-ever Copa America title, Los Cafeteros will play defending champions Argentina in the final on Sunday.

The tournament's highest scorers started brightly, with Munoz thumping a powerful header just wide of Sergio Rochet's post for Colombia.

However, the tide soon turned, and Darwin Nunez arguably should have had a first-half hat-trick as he missed a flurry of golden chances.

Twice he fired wide of Camilo Vargas' right post, sending the goalkeeper scrambling with the first as it flew inches wide, before lifting a third just over the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Colombia soon showed their threat from set-pieces though, with Lerma rising high to nod in a corner from James Rodriguez, who got his record-breaking sixth assist of the tournament.

Munoz received his marching orders shortly after though, having received a first booking for a sliding tackle on Maximiliano Araujo, he then foolishly elbowed Manuel Ugarte in the chest, leaving the referee no choice but to send him off.

Luis Suarez was given 25 minutes to make an impact in the second half and was inches away from doing so -  unmarked on the edge of the box, he rattled the post after putting his laces through a powerful shot.

Moments later, Federico Valverde sneakily tried to beat Vargas with a low strike into the bottom-left corner, but could only drill it wide of the target.

Kevin Castano had two glorious chances to secure the victory for Colombia in the dying minutes; he fired wide with the first, but was unlucky with the second as a big save by Rochet sent his effort onto the crossbar.

Uruguay come up short in front of goal

Coming into this match, Uruguay had conceded just once at the Copa America, in their opening match against Panama.

Despite ending a run of three clean sheets, that was not their focus. Instead, they were let down by their lack of a clinical edge in the final third. 

At the end of the group stages, Uruguay were the high scorers, having netted nine goals on their way to topping Group C, but in the knockout rounds, they failed to hit the back of the net.

Nunez had all four of their first-half shots without hitting the target once, and La Celeste struggled to use their man advantage in the second as they managed just two tame shots on target by the full-time whistle.

James makes history

James has gone through something of a renaissance at this year's Copa America, proving to be the star man for Nestor Lorenzo.

His assist for Lerma's opener was his sixth of the tournament, the highest tally by a player at a single edition on record (since 2011), surpassing Lionel Messi's tally of five from 2021.

He did not see out the whole game on this occasion – after picking up a yellow card for dissent, the head coach smartly took him off to make sure he would be available for the final.

Lerma's header was the fifth such goal scored by Los Cafeteros, while also bringing their tally up to eight goals from set-pieces.

They showed a different side to their game as they dug deep to get the all-important win, extending their unbeaten streak to 28 games, with Argentina awaiting them in the final.

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