Colombia snatch late victory against Qatar

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Sao Paolo: Qatar lost the second match of their Copa America campaign. The team came so close to taking a draw from Colombia before Duvan Zapata’s header snatched the win in the final five minutes of the match.

The win sees Colombia reach the second round of the tournament, after collecting six points from its first two matches. Qatar meanwhile have one point from their draw with Paraguay, they face Argentina next.

The loss will be even harder to take given Colombia struggled to break down the well-organized Qatari team. Radamel Falcao was on the bench, and Colombian star James Rodriguez struggled to have an impact until he provided the assist for the match’s only goal.

Colombia had a sixth-minute header by Yerry Mina correctly ruled out for offside against Roger Martinez. They could have gone ahead in the 13th minute, only for James to steer a header wide after a great Martinez cross from the right. That was probably the only dangerous chance they have, as they struggled to create chances despite having 68 percent of the possession. The lively Juan Cuadrado forced a comfortable save from Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb from distance, while Stefan Medina sliced an effort into the side-netting.

The second half was more of the same, with Colombia struggling to create any real chances. They had a penalty early in the second half for a handball on Abdulaziz Hatem, however reviews with the aid of VAR showed that the handball was unintentional and the referee reversed his decision.

Set-pieces continued to look like Colombia’s most likely avenue to a goal as Mina headed a corner wide in the 56th minute. Martinez squandered one of his side’s best chances just after the hour-mark, cutting inside after a good pass from James but shooting low and straight at Al Sheeb. Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina was tested twice before Al Sheeb made another fine stop to deny Martinez.

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Colombia eventually got their goal; Rodriguez played a chip ball in behind the defense which Zapata converted to gift his side the three points.

Despite the loss, the Qatari team will be pleased with the experience of competing with some of the top national sides in the world as they prepare for the World Cup they host in 2022. Coach Felix Sanchez is also attempting to build on the marvelous success of the team after they won in the Asia Cup 2019, which was held in the UAE.

The competition’s last eight are comprised of the top two teams of each group’s, and the two best third-team place.Courtesy:The Peninsula