Colombia, Peru progress after draw in Copa

Temuco (Chile), June 22 (IANS) Colombia and Peru drew their final Group C match of the Copa America football tournament 0-0 – a result that proved good enough to send both teams through to the quarter-finals.

A tight game saw both defences on top on Sunday, though Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was called into action on several occasions in the first half.

The game became rather fractious after the break, though Peru were happy enough to pick up the point they needed to make the knockout stages.

Colombia, however, had to sweat on the result of the other game on Sunday. In the end, Brazil’s 2-1 triumph over Venezuela in another Sunday match was enough to see coach Jose Pekerman’s side progress as one of the two best third-placed teams at the end of the first round.

They now move on to face Argentina in Vina del Mar on June 26, while Peru’s reward for finishing second in the group is a fixture against Bolivia the day before.

Colombian strikers Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez all wasted opportunities to be the match-winner for the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists.

Knowing they needed to force the issue having been upset by Venezuela in their opening match, Pekerman’s men were quick off the blocks.

Falcao went close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute as his low shot was tipped round the post by Gallese after Peru had failed to clear their lines from a corner.

Midfielder Pablo Armero then lashed into the side-netting before Colombia suffered a blow when midfielder Edwin Valencia landed awkwardly while chasing the ball, leading to his being taken off on a stretcher and replaced.

Peru were rarely threatened for the remainder of the half after weathering the early storm and could have taken the lead themselves in the 43rd minute had forward Paolo Guerrero not skewed wide from striker Claudio Pizarro’s clever pass.

Joel Sanchez saw two good chances to give Peru the lead go begging after the restart as the midfielder fired wide of the near post and was then denied by Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

The best chance of the second half, however, fell to Martinez.

In the end a point proved enough for both teams, though Colombia have by far the trickier opponent to come as the tournament was cut down to eight nations.

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