Colombia coach Pekerman urges patience after Peru stalemate

Temuco (Chile), June 22 (IANS) Coach Jose Pekerman has called for patience following Colombia’s scoreless draw in their final Copa America Group C game against Peru, which was still enough to set up a quarter-final date with Argentina.

Colombia only scored once in their opening three matches with no goals for any of their strikers, but their coach believes that his side has done enough to earn immunity from criticism of their output.

“You cannot castigate a team that for three years has been playing at a great level,” he told the press after Sunday’s 0-0 draw.

“Today we did enough to win the game but did not get it.”

Midfielder Edwin Valencia was forced to depart midway through the first half with an injury, and the 65-year-old coach said his untimely withdrawal worked against the team.

“We were close, we pressed our opponents and went out with the attitude of looking for the victory. Unfortunately we got a player injured and that’s hard for an organised team,” he added.

“We put in a great effort to win this game, we had every intention of doing so, but sometimes objectives are not achieved.”

Brazil’s 2-1 win over Venezuela in another Sunday match meant that Colombia booked their place in the last eight as the second-best third-placed team, with favourites Argentina to come in Vina del Mar on June 26.

Colombia last won the Copa in 2001 as hosts, beating Mexico 1-0 in the final.

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