Both Copa America matches end in a draw


Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 20

Peru rallied from two goals down to draw Colombia 2-2 and follow the defending champion into the Copa America quarterfinals on Monday.

Group B co-leaders Uruguay and Mexico advanced to the last eight without hitting a ball thanks to the earlier 1-1 draw between Bolivia and Venezuela at Mansiche Stadium, 500km north of Lima.

Bolivia still had an outside chance of qualifying as one of the two best third-placed teams, only if Chile and Costa Rica draw 1-1 in a Group C match on Wednesday at Tacna. Venezuela was eliminated early in a 13th straight Copa. The exciting Bolivia-Venezuela draw ensured Peru's safe progress before it played Colombia, but they still had to decide the winner of Group A.

Colombia, which had qualified on Friday, topped the group with seven points from three games, followed by Peru with five points, Bolivia two and Venezuela one.

Colombia will remain in Trujillo to play the second-best third-place team in Saturday's quarterfinals, while Peru will travel further north to Chiclayo to face the second-place team from Group B, either Mexico, Uruguay or Argentina.

The Argentines will progress if Ecuador loses to Mexico on Tuesday, or Argentina at least draws Uruguay in the second match at Piura. Nolberto Solano and Flavio Maestri scored the second-half goals for Peru, after Edwin Congo gave Colombia a 1-0 lead by halftime, and Abel Aguilar made it 2-0 eight minutes into the second spell.

"It was a very tough match, just as we expected," said Colombia coach Reinaldo Rueda. "But we played intelligently and held together as a team."

Colombia had won eight straight Copa matches without conceding a goal since 2001, and its goal-line was finally crossed by Solano in the 58th minute. Colombia's shutout streak lasted 804 minutes. Two minutes later Maestri scored for the host nation's second draw in three matches.

Congo opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, beating the defense on a sliding header to finish off a perfect center pass from Elkin Murillo. Aguilar blasted in from just inside the penalty area 20 minutes later.

Solano scored in the 58th minute on a free kick that curved through a five-player Colombian wall which split just after he struck the ball. Two minutes later, Maestri equalized, diving forward to head a redirected header from Andres Mendoza.

Rueda fielded four substitutes in his lineup, choosing to rest key starters ahead of the quarterfinals, while Peru was without captain Claudio Pizarro, who was forced out of the Copa after fracturing his skull during the team's 3-1 win over Venezuela on Friday.

In the early match, Venezuela's Ruberth Moran pounced on a rebound to score in the 27th minute, and six minutes later Gonzalo Galindo leveled for Bolivia when he powered a shot between the legs of defender Andree Gonzales and past goalkeeper Gilberto Angelucci.