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Copa America 2024 | Colombia through to Copa America semi-finals with 5-0 thrashing of Panama

'The most important thing is still to come. We hope to reach the final,' said Rodriguez, who was named player of the match.
Last Updated : 07 July 2024, 02:47 IST

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Glendale, Arizona: James Rodriguez scored one goal and set up two more as Colombia thoroughly dismantled Panama in a 5-0 win at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday to march into the Copa America semi-finals.

"Los Cafeteros" are through to the semi-finals for the third time in four editions and they will face either Uruguay or Brazil, who meet in a quarter-final clash in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday.

"The most important thing is still to come. We hope to reach the final," said Rodriguez, who was named player of the match.

"I am very happy because we are going through a good moment. Today we played a good game and scored the goals quickly."

Striker Jhon Cordoba outmuscled his marker to head home from a corner and give Colombia the lead in the eighth minute, before Nestor Lorenzo's side were awarded a penalty after Panama goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera brought down Jhon Arias.

James Rodriguez stepped up to the spot and smashed his effort into the roof of the net in the 15th minute to net his 28th international goal.

Panama had a brief spell of possession midway through the first half, with their best chance coming in the 19th minute when Roderick Miller's header bounced off the post and directly at goalkeeper Camilo Vargas, who displayed great reflexes to swat it away from goal.

Colombia weathered the storm and punished their opponents from another set piece in the 41st minute, as Rodriguez played in Luis Diaz with a quick free kick and the Liverpool winger lobbed his shot over Mosquera from the edge of the area.

"We know what kind of foot James has and one look is enough. He saw me and I scored the pass. It was a nice goal. We are very in sync and we hope to keep on winning for the fans," Diaz said.

Colombia eased off the throttle in the second half as they looked to control the game and see out the victory, but they were still the better side by far.

They scored their fourth goal in the 70th minute after Richard Rios took advantage of some confusion in the Panama ranks in the aftermath of a foul to rifle in a low drive from range, which caught Mosquera unawares.

Panama's frustration appeared to show when defender Jose Cordoba clattered into Santiago Arias just inside the box to gift Colombia a clear penalty in stoppage time, which substitute Miguel Borja scored with the last kick of the match.

The win extends Colombia's unbeaten run to 27 matches, with their last defeat coming in a 1-0 loss to Argentina in February 2022.

Colombia will play their semi-final match in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday. Defending champions Argentina take on Canada - the only remaining CONCACAF side in the tournament - in the other semi-final in New Jersey on Tuesday.

The match marked the end of Panama's fairytale run in the competition, which included a memorable 2-1 win over CONCACAF rivals and hosts the United States.

It was their best-ever performance at the Copa America, improving on their group stage exit on their debut in 2016.

"I am very proud of my players, of what they have achieved in this Copa America," Panama coach Thomas Christiansen told reporters.

"Of course, no one likes losing and much the less 5-0, but we have to commend the players for this Copa America. It did not end as we wished, but this is also a learning experience."

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Published 07 July 2024, 02:47 IST

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