Peru beat Paraguay on penalties to reach Copa semi-finals

Goiania (Brazil), July 3 (IANS): Peru have advanced to the Copa America semi-finals for the second time in three years with a spectacular 4-3 victory on penalties over Paraguay here.

Miguel Trauco converted the decisive shot after the teams were stuck 3-3 at the end of regulation time at the Estadio Olimpico in Goiania on Friday, Xinhua reported.

Gustavo Gomez put Paraguay ahead with an 11th-minute goal, but Gianluca Lapadula equalized at close range after combining with Andre Carrillo.

Lapadula then gave Peru the lead, scoring a nice finish in front of goalkeeper Antony Silva following a through pass from Yoshimar Yotun.

Paraguay was reduced to 10 men just before half-time when Gustavo Gomez was warned twice in less than five minutes for reckless challenges.

But Paraguay refused to give in and they were back at the same level when Junior Alonso returned home at the far post, capitalizing on chaotic Peru defending from a corner kick.

Yotun restored the lead to Peru when his long-range effort took a turn, leaving Silva no chance.

But the game took another unexpected turn in the 85th minute when Carrillo was also fired for a second yellow card.

Gabriel Avalos increased the score to 3-3 with a first shot from inside the six-meter penalty area after Braian Samudio’s run behind the wheel and the left wing cut.

With no extra time played in the main competitions in South America, the match ended in a penalty shoot-out.

Hector Martinez, Samudio and Alberto Espinola all missed their attempts for Paraguay, while Santiago Ormeno and Christian Cueva also squandered their chances for Peru.

Trauco kept his cool with his side’s sixth attempt to maintain Peru’s hopes of a third Copa America title and the first since 1975.

Ricardo Gareca’s men will face Brazil or Chile at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 5, with the winner advancing to the final on July 10.

Peru finished second in 2019, losing 3-1 to Brazil, host of Rio’s Maracana Stadium.

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