Lerma sends 10-man Colombia into Copa America final-Xinhua

Lerma sends 10-man Colombia into Copa America final

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-07-11 13:05:00

CHARLOTTE, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Jefferson Lerma scored a first-half winner as 10-man Colombia reached the Copa America final with a 1-0 victory over Uruguay here on Wednesday.

Lerma struck with a towering header but the Cafeteros suffered a major setback shortly after when right-back Daniel Munoz was sent off for a second yellow-card offense.

Colombia survived a nerve-wracking second half to set up a meeting with Argentina in the final at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

The Cafeteros, who are unbeaten in their past 28 matches, will be vying for just their second Copa America title - and their first since 2001 - while Argentina are aiming to win the continental trophy for a 16th time.

Uruguay looked more dangerous early at Bank of America Stadium, and Darwin Nunez had two chances to give his side lead in the first half hour.

First, the Liverpool striker thumped a shot from the edge of the area just wide, and then he sent a curling effort narrowly past the far post following a counterattack.

Colombia went ahead against the run of play in the 39th minute when Lerma sent a towering header past goalkeeper Sergio Rochet following James Rodriguez's corner.

It was Rodriguez's sixth assist of the tournament, a new Copa America record.

Colombia's joy was short-lived, as Munoz was shown a second yellow card on the stroke of halftime for flooring Manuel Ugarte with an elbow to the chest.

The Cafeteros continued to attack after the interval despite their numerical disadvantage. Jhon Cordoba almost doubled his side's advantage following another Rodriguez's delivery from a set piece, but the Krasnodar forward's header just missed the target.

Luis Suarez replaced Guillermo Varela in the 67th minute and injected some much-needed urgency into Uruguay's play.

The veteran Inter Miami forward sent Colombian hearts fluttering when he received Mathias Olivera's pass on the counterattack before sending a 20-yard drive crashing off the right post.

Colombia squandered a gilt-edged chance to put the result beyond doubt when an unmarked Kevin Castano side footed wide from 12 yards after Luis Sinisterra's pass.

Uruguay continued to push forward in search of an equalizer and Giorgian de Arrascaeta again went close with a dipping effort that was palmed over by goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.

The frenetic tempo continued into stoppage time. Mateus Uribe had another opportunity to score Colombia's second goal, but his low effort from 15 yards hit the bar after deflecting off Rochet's right leg.