Thursday’s encounter between Brazil and Columbia was expected to be tight from the perspective of producing a good show but Columbia surprisingly conquered the match, leaving the five-time world champions with only two real chances that they obviously missed, conceding a 0-1 defeat.
Columbia was placed third in Group C, going into Thursday’s clash against Brazil. They were not counted as the favorites, albeit having many star players like Radamel Falcao, Carlos Bacca, Juan Cuadrado and of course, James Rodriguez.
But the crucial win they squeezed out from Brazil, proved that they are definitely a team to watch for in Copa America. Jelson Murillo scored the only goal helped Columbia do the undoable.
In our earlier article, we talked about Columbia capable of producing strong counter attacks to Brazil if they learn from their mistakes against Venezuela – the opening match that they lost 0-1. And they definitely picked up the pieces and came back roaring.
Right from the beginning of the match, Jose Pekerman’s side dominated Brazil – not giving them the chance to possess the ball et al. Dressed in blue and white jersey, Brazil appeared a far cry from the team that we saw in the opener against Peru.
It’s true Columbia is potentially a better team than Peru, but the absence of Brazilian star and captain, Neymar’s charisma on field gave a major blow to last year’s World Cup semi-finalist.
He was hardly able to show the form he produced throughout last summer in Barcelona except for a few glimpses that saw him submerge a header into Columbian goalkeeper, David Ospina Ramirez’s hand. It looked like the ball could slip away from Ramirez’s hands and go past the goal line, but the Columbian was too aware to let that happen.
Cuadrado was definitely the man of the match, executing amazing offensive as well as defensive skills. He nearly missed a goal at 51st minute.
James Rodriguez lived up to his name and expectations, controlling the penalty area beautifully. He missed a very close goal at 89th minute that just missed the corner of the net, making Brazil fortunate enough to not go down 0-2.
Brazil got the biggest chance on 57th minute when 23-year-old Firmino failed to score even after a wide-open net.
Columbia was a far better side before Brazil who looked clueless and played like amateurs. Moreover, the match turned out to very brutal with Neymar and Bacca involved in a brutal extracurricular that saw the referee showing red cards to both.
Neymar saw a second yellow card already earlier in the match that took him out of Brazil’s next match, but an additional red card means his team might have to make do without him for two more matches, including the quarter final should they qualify.
Right after the end of the match, Neymar kicked the ball into Pablo Armerro, causing Columbia’s winning goal-scorer, defender Jelson Murillo to protest. Neymar ended up headbutting him and Bacca made things worse by pushing him away. After quite awhile, the referee showed red cards to both the players.
Coincident but it was a painful repetition of last year’s World Cup event where Brazil had to play the semi-finals against Germany without Neymar, getting badly bashed up. The reason was different then from the one now, but the answer is same – Neymar’s absence. And when a team misses their star player, there is a huge difference.
Moreover, Dunga’s failed tricks that cost Brazil the 2010 World Cup is back on spotlights again as Brazil is struggling to put on a good performance. They don’t have a dearth of talents, but Dunga needs to be clever in bringing that out. Otherwise, Copa America dream is on the verge of slipping away.