Colombia snuck by with a 1-0 victory Wednesday against Serbia in their last international friendly before the final round of World Cup Qualifiers.
Each team had clear chances throughout what was a fairly open game, but the lone goal came in the 89′ minute, when Inter Milan’s Freddy Guarin finished a scramble play in the box to put the Colombian side ahead in Barcelona.
With the game tied 0-0 and time winding down, Carlos Bacca, one of six second half subs for the Colombian side, played Jackson Marinez through after a crisp one-touch buildup from the backline. Martinez had time to square his hips and get a chip off with his left foot, but Serbian keeper Dahmir Kahmiran closed down the angle. A botched clearance sent the rebound bouncing toward the end line, but Martinez caught up to it and played a first-time cross toward the far post that Guarin hammered home for the win, beating two Serbian defenders in the air for the header.
With Radamel Falcao at home with his new baby and starting centerbacks Mario Yepes and Christian Zapata both serving suspensions, head coach Jose Peckerman had a chance to experiment with his team’s depth, going with Jackson Martinez and Luis Muriel up top and the centerback pairing of Carlos Valdes and Aquivaldo Mosquera, who played well in their first time starting together, if a bit uncomfortably.
Peckerman used all six of his subs by way of mixing up the roster, but the clear standout of the match was Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, who flew up and down the right wing all game and made a strong case for a starting spot in the midfield, despite playing outside back for Florentina.
With its friendly schedule done for now, the Colombian team will have the week off before training for its September 6th Qualifier against Ecuador at the National Stadium in Barranquilla.