Colombia registered a 1-0 victory over Brazil in an ill-tempered match in which a total of 39 fouls were committed and both Neymar and Carlos Bacca were shown a red card after the match.
This was just Colombia’s third victory in 28 meetings with Brazil, and their second in competitive matches after their 2-0 victory in the 1991 Copa America. The result was a fair one and this has made Group C very interesting, with three teams on 3 points each – Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela- who will play their second match against Peru on Friday.
Brazil dominated possession in the first 30 minutes of the match and Colombia found it hard to get out of their own half. But the match turned on its head when central defender Murillo scored the only goal of the game from a Cuadrado free kick in the 36th minute to give Colombia the lead. Brazil were unable to clear the free kick and were punished by Murillo, who slotted home on the turn from near the penalty spot.
Colombian central defenders Murillo and Cristian Zapata were excellent in fulfilling their defensive duties, as they made the Brazilian attacking line toil- an attacking line featuring stars like Neymar, Firmino, Willian, Coutinho and more.
Jose Pekerman’s side moved the ball with authority after their lead as chances fell to Radamel Falcao and Teofilo Gutierrez. Juan Cuadrado shot wide from 18 yards after a well worked move with James Rodriguez at the heart of it.
Brazil had their own chances to equalise as Neymar headed the ball straight at Ospina at the stroke of half- time. The Barcelona star had a match to forget as he missed another chance, shooting wide when clear on goal just two minutes after the break. The Selecao skipper was booked as well for handling the ball. Cuadrado should have doubled the lead for Colombia in the 52nd minute, shooting at goal after cutting in from the right. On the other hand, Roberto Firmino wasted a golden opportunity for Brazil to equalise as he shot over the bar after Ospina had slipped.
James Rodriguez could have made it a deserved 2-0 for Colombia as his shot was tipped just wide from Jefferson from a difficult angle after making an excellent run from midfield.
After the final whistle, Neymar kicked the ball into Zapata which left the Colombian defender on ground in pain. This act from the Brazilian faced a strong reaction from the Colombian forward Carlos Bacca, who tackled Neymar ruthlessly from behind. Then Dani Alves got involved, and both the teams had to be separated as the matter heated up. Consequently, the referee showed a red card to both Neymar and Bacca.
Colombia desperately needed to win after their 1-0 loss to Venezuela in their first match to keep their hopes of a Copa win alive. Jose Pekerman’s side didn’t disappoint as they defended bravely and hit Brazil on counter-attacks. Colombia face Peru in their final group match and are the favourites to win. Whereas Brazil face a stiff test against Venezuela which can turn out to be a knock out match should Peru take something from their match against Venezuela. Group C is wide open because all the four teams have a chance to qualify for the Quarter-Finals.