Player ratings as Colombia advance to Copa America 2024 final despite Daniel Munoz red card

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Sportem
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Colombia extended their unbeaten streak to 28 games as Nestor Lorenzo’s squad defeated Uruguay to advance to the Copa America 2024 final despite playing with ten men for more than 50 minutes.

Colombia and Uruguay both won their respective groups at Copa America 2024, and a semi-final between the two sides felt inevitable. Colombia emphatically defeated Panama in the quarter-finals 5-0, while Uruguay survived a penalty shootout against Brazil. Tonight, the two sides faced off to decide who gets to take on the reigning champions, Argentina, in the Copa America final.

How the game unfolded

In front of a stadium of yellow shirts, Colombia looked the more dangerous side in the early stages of the match, pushing forward with precision and speed to test Uruguay’s makeshift backline. It was La Celeste, though, who had the first real chance of the game when Darwin Nunez released a left-footed strike that went just wide in the 17th minute. The Liverpool striker would have two more decent looks at goal, but he lacked the end product.

Uruguay might not have been able to capitalize on their chances, but Colombia did not make the same mistakes. Jefferson Lerma, back in the starting XI after serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation, got on the end of another brilliant James Rodriguez corner with a header at the back post in the 39th minute.

Just six minutes after the opening goal, Daniel Munoz, who was already booked 31st minute, received a second yellow for elbowing Manuel Ugarte in the chest. Colombia went into the locker room up a goal, but down a man.

A goal for Uruguay felt inevitable in the second half, but La Celeste struggled to take advantage of their extra player. Their best chance came in the 71st minute when an unmarked Luis Suarez kissed the outside of the post with a strike from 15 yards out. Marcelo Bielsa’s squad kept knocking on the door, but could not find an equalizer against Colombia’s stout backline, forcing them to settle for the third place match while Colombia advanced to the Copa America final.

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Daniel Munoz was sent off in the first half. / CHANDAN KHANNA/GettyImages

GK: Camilo Vargas – 7/10 – Vargas kept a clean sheet tonight and made timely saves when it mattered most.

RB: Daniel Munoz – 3/10 – Munoz was sent off in the first half after receiving two yellow cards, leaving his team with ten men in a must-win match.

CB: Davinson Sanchez – 7/10 – Down a man, Sanchez was called upon to both maintain Colombia’s clean sheet and stop Luis Suarez in the second half.

CB: Carlos Cuesta – 7/10 – Cuesta carried the ball forward from the backline in the first half, contributing to Colombia’s attack, but he had to stand tall in the second half to keep Uruguay off the scoresheet.

LB: Johan Mojica – 6/10 – Mojica defended well tonight, especially once Colombia went down to ten men. The left-back effectively took Facundo Pellistri and Cristian Olivera out of the game.

DM: Richard Rios – 6/10 – Rios is the engine of Colombia’s midfield, constantly helping out on defense while also pushing forward on the attack. He was also the victim of several harsh tackles that eventually forced him off the pitch in the 61st minute.

DM: Jefferson Lerma – 7/10 – After serving his one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation, Lerma returned to the starting XI and scored Colombia’s only goal tonight.

RM: Jhon Arias – 5/10 – Arias had a quiet first half, supporting the attack when he could. The midfielder was subbed off at halftime, though, in favor of a defender after Munoz’s red card.

AM: James Rodriguez – 7/10 – Rodriguez recorded his sixth assist tonight on Colombia’s only goal, the most by a single player since 2011.

LM: Luis Diaz – 8/10 – Diaz terrorized the right side of Uruguay’s defense, using his speed and dribbling ability to take on various players and carve out goalscoring opportunities. The Liverpool player put forth a valiant effort down a man to hold the ball up.

ST: Jhon Cordoba – 5/10 – Cordoba found himself on the end of a couple half-chances, but the striker failed to test Sergio Rochet.

Substitutes

SUB: Santiago Arias – 6/10 – Arias was subbed on at halftime to slot in at right-back after Munoz was sent off. Despite only making one prior appearance this Copa America, the defender did well to help his backline stop Uruguay.

SUB: Mateus Uribe – 5/10 – Uribe came on for the injured Rios and brought energy to the Colombian midfield as they fought to defend with ten men. Uribe could have sealed the game in the 88th and the 94th minute, but missed both chances.

SUB: Kevin Castano – 5/10 – Castano’s fresh legs were a welcomed reprieve for the tired Colombians on the pitch.

SUB: Yerry Mina – 6/10 – Mina was subbed on in the 75th minute to give Los Cafeteros an extra center-back.

SUB: Luis Sinisterra – N/A – Sinisterra came on in the 86th minute and joined in on the defensive effort.

Manager

Nestor Lorenzo – 8/10 – Nestor Lorenzo deserves all the credit for leading Colombia to the Copa America 2024 final. The manager made crucial substitutions after Daniel Munoz was sent off in the first half, giving his side every chance to maintain their 1-0 lead and their unbeaten streak. It takes a certain resilience to survive down a man in a semi-final against a team that had not lost at this year’s Copa America, but Lorenzo’s squad came out with the victory.

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