Luck was not on Colombia's side when they struck the woodwork twice and missed a penalty as Peru staged an incredible smash and grab win to sneak into the semi-finals
Peru claimed a shock 2-0 win over Colombia after extra-time thanks to strikes from Carlos Lobaton and Juan Manual Vargas. The sensational victory sends them into the semi-finals of the Copa America as the Colombians missed a penalty and hit the woodwork twice in normal time as they crashed out of the competition.
The Colombians settled into the game immediately, knocking the ball about confidently but could not muster any clear cut chance as the Peruvians eventually matched the tempo of the game.
Peru’s Vargas was proving to be an excellent attacking outlet for his side as he flung in two dangerous balls before unleashing his own shot from 30 yards which had Luis Enrique Martinez scrambling only for the shot to zip narrowly wide.
Falcao led Colombia’s attack expertly involving his team-mates, mainly Abel Aguilar, and it was the former who almost had a chance to draw first blood but Peru’s Christian Ramos nudged ahead of the Porto man and ushered the ball behind to safety.
Vargas tried his luck from distance again but Martinez was equal to the effort this time. Colombian captain Mario Yepes headed over wastefully from Fredy Guarin’s corner which then signalled the end of an entertaining half.
The second half began slowly with fouls stunting any momentum building in either team. Yepes found his team-mate Dayro Moreno with a sumptuously measured ball and the forward’s first touch allowed him a shot at goal but it was slammed wide of the post.
Moreno once more proved the thorn in the Peruvian defence as he drew a foul in the box which earned Colombia a golden chance to break the deadlock. However Falcao inexplicably hit it low and wide as Sergio Markarian’s outfit breathed a sigh of relief.
But that miss only seemed to galvanise Colombia, as Moreno rattled the post for his nation as they relentlessly searched for the opener. Adan Balbin forced Martinez to tip a shot over the bar as they managed to stem the tide of the waves of Colombian attacks.
But deep into injury-time, Colombia were mere centimetres from producing the winner. Guarin blasted a shot from the edge of the box but Raul Fernandez put it onto the bar with his fingertips as Peru lurched fortunately into extra-time thanks to the woodwork.
As the Colombians continued to largely dominate proceedings in extra-time, Peru’s Lobaton snatched a goal from nothing. In the 101st minute, Martinez failed to deal with a cross and it dropped to the 31-year-old who rifled the ball in from 18 yards out to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Vargas added gloss to the win as his effort in the 112th minute killed off any hopes of a Colombian comeback. He lashed a shot into the top corner to certify his team’s extended stay in Argentina.
The victory for Peru means they will face either Argentina or Uruguay in a mouth-watering semi-final clash which is to take place on July 19.