July 16th, 2024

Colombia crushes Panama 5-0 to advance to Copa America semifinals

By David Brandt, The Associated Press on July 6, 2024.

Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal from the penalty spot against Panama during a Copa America quarterfinal soccer match in Glendale, Ariz., Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Jhon Córdoba, James Rodríguez and Luis Díaz scored goals during a dominant first half to spark Colombia to a 5-0 win over Panama in the quarterfinals of the Copa America on Saturday.

Colombia – which came into Saturday on a 26-match unbeaten streak – wasted little time on No. 27 when Córdoba’s well-placed header in the eighth minute found the bottom corner of the net following a corner kick from Rodríguez.

Los Cafeteros pushed ahead 2-0 less than 10 minutes later on Rodríguez’s powerful penalty kick. Colombia was awarded the penalty after Panama goalie Orlando Mosquera tripped up Colombia’s Jhon Arias, who was sprinting to save the ball from going out of bounds near the post.

It was the 32-year-old Rodríguez’s 28th goal in international play.

Colombia made it 3-0 in the 41st minute when Díaz lobbed a shot over Mosquera, who had charged forward during the breakaway. The goal was set up by another good pass from Rodríguez.

Panama had a few decent chances to score in the first half, including a shot that bounced off the post before being swatted out of danger by Colombia goalie Camilo Vargas. But Los Canaleros could not make a dent in the lead.

Colombia scored its fourth goal in the 70th minute when Richard Ríos blasted a long right-footed shot past Mosquera into the bottom left corner of the net. The final goal came in stoppage time when Miguel Borja converted a penalty kick.

Colombia will play in the semifinals on Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, against the winner of Uruguay-Brazil on Saturday.

The heavily-favoured Colombians enjoyed a huge home field advantage in front of announced crowd of 39,740 at State Farm Stadium, with most fans donning the team’s bright yellow jerseys. The stadium’s retractable roof was closed because of temperatures that hovered around 46 Celsius outside.

Panama’s unexpected run to the quarterfinals included a 2-1 win over the United States during group play.

Argentina and Canada have already secured semifinal berths and will square off Tuesday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

AP Copa America coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/copa-america

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