Vina del Mar (Chile), June 27 (IANS) Coach José Pékerman has conceded his Colombian football team was second best as they were eliminated from the Copa America by Argentina.
Carlos Tevez on Friday struck the winning penalty to clinch the Albiceleste’s 5-4 shoot-out win after a 0-0 draw over 90 minutes.
But while the Colombia coach praised his side for hanging on despite Argentina’s dominance of possession and territory, he was quick to admit afterwards that they were beaten by the better side.
“Argentina played a great game and we had many difficulties in the first half. We lost the ball a lot, we tried to use some width but failed, and we tried to put things right early on but just couldn’t get up with the pace of the game,” the 65-year-old told a post-match press conference.
“We improved in the second half and created some chances, but Argentina were much better. We have to take the result on the chin, but we deeply regret going out of the competition.
“This is a very tough group who always fight. The players prepared well and strove to be fit, but today we just came up against a team of great strength who were not going to let us off the hook.”
Pékerman’s side head home having beaten only Brazil in four matches at the tournament, but he insists they gave it a decent fight and will be better for it in the longer term.
“It was a good experience for Colombia,” he added. “We are a growing team with lots of good parts to our game, but we thank all those who always believed in us and we must keep working to improve.”