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Copa America: Rodriguez leads Colombia to beat Paraguay

Copa America: Rodriguez leads Colombia to beat Paraguay

James Rodriguez scored a goal and set up another in the first 30 minutes, and Colombia clinched a berth in the Copa America quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory over Paraguay on Tuesday night.

Colombia became the first team to secure a spot in the knockout stage of the tournament with stellar goaltending from David Ospina and another dynamic performance from Rodriguez, who shook off a shoulder injury that made his availability a game-time decision at the Rose Bowl.

The Real Madrid midfielder propelled Colombia to their second win in two matches, following a 2-0 victory over the United States last week.

Victor Ayala scored Paraguay’s first goal of the Copa America in the 71st minute on a long shot past Ospina, who made a handful of jaw-dropping saves to keep Colombia ahead.

Read also: Ghana beat Mauritius to reach 2017 AFCON

Despite a few defensive struggles, the world’s third-ranked team has lived up to its billing so far stateside with a fluid, attacking game built around Rodriguez, who played despite hurting his shoulder last week.

Carlos Bacca scored on a header from Rodriguez’s corner kick in the 12th minute. Rodriguez then scored with an exceptional shot after a long scramble in the box in the 30th minute. Colombia missed on several chances to score in a back-and-forth second half, while Ospina stopped everything except Ayala’s exceptional long strike.

James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring Colombia’s second goal against Paraguay at the Copa America.

Los Cafeteros wrap up group play against Costa Rica in Houston on Saturday, while Paraguay travels to Philadelphia to face the Americans. Paraguay must beat the home team to stay in contention for advancement.

 

 

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