Peru Move Into Copa Semi With Penalties Win Over Paraguay

Peru
Soccer Football – Copa America 2021 – Quarter Final – Peru v Paraguay – Estadio Olimpico, Goiania, Brazil – July 2, 2021 Paraguay’s Alberto Espinola misses a penalty during a penalty shootout REUTERS/Diego Vara

GOIANIA ⸺ Peru moved into the semi-finals of the Copa America in dramatic fashion on Friday by beating Paraguay 4-3 on penalties after the two sides drew 3-3 over 90 minutes in an action-packed encounter in Goiania.

David Martinez, Braian Samudio, and Alberto Espinola all missed in the shoot-out for Paraguay, but Miguel Trauco guaranteed Peru a spot in the semi-finals for the second Copa in a row after Santiago Ormeno and Christian Cueva had their kicks saved.

The result means Peru will play the winner of Friday’s late game between Chile and hosts and reigning champions Brazil.

The other quarter-finals will be played on Saturday and feature Argentina against Ecuador and Uruguay versus Colombia.

Soccer Football – Copa America 2021 – Quarter Final – Peru v Paraguay – Estadio Olimpico, Goiania, Brazil – July 2, 2021 Paraguay’s Antony Silva saves a penalty during a penalty shootout REUTERS/Diego Vara

Peru hadn’t lost to Paraguay since 2014, a run that stretched back for seven games. But they went behind after just 11 minutes when Gustavo Gomez was on hand to push a parried save from Pedro Gallese into the net from close range.

Peru fought back quickly with Andre Carrillo, who was superb on the flanks, instrumental in creating two chances that Gianluca Lapadula put away with aplomb.

Lapadula, the Italian-Peruvian who plays for Benevento in Italy, had scored just once in his first eight games for Peru but he doubled that tally by half time.

The first came in 21 minutes when he turned in a Carrillo cross from the left and the second came five minutes before half time when he ran on to a through-pass to slip the ball under an advancing Antony Silva.

Soccer Football – Copa America 2021 – Quarter Final – Peru v Paraguay – Estadio Olimpico, Goiania, Brazil – July 2, 2021 Peru’s Yoshimar Yotun celebrates scoring a penalty during a penalty shootout REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

A game that would feature 32 fouls and six yellow cards saw its first red just seconds before half-time when Paraguayan captain Gomez was shown a second yellow minutes after getting a first for dissent.

That left Paraguay facing a full 45 minutes against 10 men, but it was they who started strongest in the second half and they equalised after 54 minutes when Junior Alonso seized on a loose ball from a corner kick and lifted it into the roof of the net.

Peru regained a barely deserved lead 10 minutes from time when Yoshimar Yotun’s long-range shot was cruelly deflected past Silva but they were also reduced to 10 men five minutes later when Carrillo capped an eventful display by getting a second yellow.

Gabriel Avalos then prompted ecstatic scenes for the Paraguayans when he drew things level with his first international goal in the final minute of the match.

Reporting by Andrew Downie, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien; Reuters

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