Rodriguez shines as Colombia thrash Panama to secure Copa América semi-final spot

James Rodriguez celebrates after converting penalty
James Rodriguez celebrates after converting penaltyReuters
Copa América 2021’s bronze medallists Colombia have now made it back-to-back semi-finals in the competition, after a trio of first-half goals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale helped secure a 5-0 win over Panama, who are now winless in 15 against Los Cafeteros.

Colombia relinquished their 10-match winning run in an admirable draw with Brazil to end the Group Stage, but after only eight minutes tonight, they were on course to start a new winning streak.

James Rodriguez curled in a dangerous inswinging corner, and Jhon Cordoba got ahead of his marker to head home from six yards.

Only seven minutes later, Colombia were in dreamland when Italian referee Maurizio Mariani pointed to the penalty spot after Jhon Arias was brought down in the area by a combination of goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera and Edgardo Farina.

Rodriguez again took responsibility from the dead ball situation, sending Mosquera the wrong way for his first international goal since October.

Nestor Lorenzo’s men were brought down to earth soon after, when a Panamanian free-kick was curled from the left wing onto the head of Roderick Miller, whose effort struck the post and would have crossed the line had Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas not instinctively batted it away at the last moment.

Los Cafeteros duly regrouped, and Rodriguez ended the game as a contest four minutes before half time, taking a quick free-kick and spotting the run of Luis Diaz, who stayed onside and lofted the ball over the stranded Mosquera for 3-0.

Match stats
Match statsFlashscore

Panama now had nothing to lose, but still began the second half on the backfoot. That said, Richard Rios’ shot from a free-kick routine being deflected narrowly wide was the closest either side came to a second half shot on target until 20 minutes from time.

With the game fizzling out, Daniel Munoz went down on the edge of the box and as Colombia appealed for a foul, Rios reacted to the loose ball and drilled a 25-yard first-time strike past Mosquera.

A dreadful challenge in injury time by Jose Cordoba on Santiago Arias gave Colombia a second penalty of the night, which Miguel Borja dispatched to round off a huge win.

The 2001 champions comfortably march on to a semi-final against Uruguay or Brazil, while Panama’s first Copa América knockout fixture sees their two-match winning run end.

Flashscore Man of the Match: James Rodriguez (Colombia)

Check out the match stats here


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