Friday, July 9, 2021

Copa America

The Copa America final is set for a clash of traditional South American powers Brazil and Argentina. Brazil edged Peru in their semi-final match, successfully protecting a first half margin delivered in the 35th minute on a goal by Lucas Paqueta after better known teammates Neymar, Richarlison, and Casemiro were stymied by Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. Gallese plays club football for Orlando City of MLS. Brazil had eight shots on goal versus two for Peru though Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson was forced to a critical second half save as he posted his sixth consecutive clean sheet for the Selecao. Peru played a largely defensive game, having conceded four goals to Brazil each of the last two matches between the teams. Argentina required penalty kicks to get by Colombia and set up the final matchup with rival Brazil. A second half goal by Colombia’s Luis Diaz negated an Argentina lead provided by a Lautaro Martinez first half strike as the clubs moved directly to penalties at the end of regulation time. Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who posted the third highest number of clean sheets in Premier League competition this season, stopped three of the Colombia penalty kicks to boost Argentina to the final.Everton center back Yerry Mina and Tottenham Hotspurs defender Edinson Sanchez were two of the unsuccessful penalty takers for Colombia. Messi will be seeking his first major championship with Argentina as his country take a 19-match unbeaten streak into the final with Brazil, the country which inflicted Argentina’s last loss in the 2019 Copa America semi-finals. Colombia and Peru play for third place on Friday before Saturday’s championship match.


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