Colombia secured a comfortable 2-0-win against Peru on Tuesday and is now almost secure of qualifying for Brazil 2014.
In a game almost completely dominated by the Cafeteros, the three-way offensive represented by Radamel Falcao, Jackson Martinez and Teofilo Gutierrez had a field day against a Peru that seemed confused, static and at times even wholly unprofessional.
The game began with an almost relentless Colombian offensive, with the only factor stopping the home side from scoring in the first ten minutes being the clever positioning of Peruvian goalkeeper Raul Fernandez. However, despite futile attempts by the guests to keep the score even, Colombia’s Camilo Zuñiga was dragged down in the 10th minute, leading to an excellent penalty kick signed by Falcao.
The future AC Monaco striker’s confident broadside meant Colombia was at this point almost certainly qualified for Brazil.
After the 1-0 penalty, the Colombian onslaught continued with right-wing attacker Juan Guillermo Caudrado distinguishing himself as perhaps the finest player on the pitch. Caudrado worked hard and constantly made himself playable on the right midfield, with Peruvian defenders seemingly unable to stop his dribbling and well-calculated short rushes. In fact, the Colombian attacking trio had a field day against a seemingly shell-shocked Peruvian defense.
However, the guests were not without chances, as demonstrated by the Peruvian goalie’s power header in the 34th minute, which was easily picked by a well-positioned Colombian goalie. Nevertheless, Peru nearly equaled when shooting against the goal post only three minutes later.
The Colombian midfield did everything right on Tuesday, constantly looking for contact with Caudrado while taking advantage of Falcao’s relentless attitude in the offensive and defensive role. In the 44th minute, Teofilo Gutierrez scored Colombia’s second.
The first half was almost completely dominated by the home side, which shone in front of a sold-out Metropolitan stadium in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla.
The second half was predictable as the home side concentrated on consolidating the comfortable lead. However, during the first five minutes of the half, Peru briefly took the initiative with a few good chances. However, the temporary initiative would not last as the entire Colombian team concentrated on maintaining the lead over the Andean guests. The Colombian sense of sacrifice was demonstrated by Falcao’s triple role as defender, midfielder and attacker; when Peru attempted to breach the Colombian defense, Falcao acted as a fifth defender while maintaining offensive capabilities with unexpected accelerations and intelligent positioning.
In the 24th minute of the second half, Peruvian defender Carlos Zambrano received his second yellow card, leading to him being sent of the pitch with Colombian dominance secured in an uneventful rest of the game.
Colombia, with 23 points, is now almost guaranteed a place in the 2014 Brazil world cup playoffs. Peru, however, will have to win all last three games in order to secure a spot.
If the Cafeteros succeed in reaching the World Cup, it will only be the fifth qualification in history and the first this century.