Colombia coach Jose Pekerman praised the resolve shown by his charges as he celebrated a win in his first competitive match against Peru, while admitting that their rivals posed a formidable challenge in Lima.
The Cafeteros were on the back foot for large parts of their World Cup qualifier away to Sergio Markarian's team, but gained a vital victory thanks to a solitary goal from James Rodriguez. The three points take Colombia up to fifth place in the Conmebol standings, and another win against Ecuador on June 10 could see them share the summit with Argentina depending on results elsewhere.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Pekerman recognised that it was not an easy fixture for his new team, but was delighted that they rose to the challenge to take the victory away from home.
"I liked the commitment. Everyone wants Colombia to move forward. To play well you need confidence, calm and hard work, we took on the challenge knowing the risks and we still have a lot to do," the former Albiceleste trainer explained to reporters.
"The team was equal to the circumstances, aside from some difficult moments. The qualifiers are tough like that, but we want to go through.
"[Peru] looked to attack a lot, at times they were messy but they were impetuous. They won individual battles. We had one clear chance, but the final pass was not there. We could not control the match easily."
Pekerman took over from Leonel Alvarez at the start of 2012, and won his first clash 2-0 in a friendly against Mexico.