Mexico beat Colombia 3-1 Saturday, eliminating the host team from the Under-20 World Cup soccer.
Edson Rivera broke open a 1-1 match in the 69th minute with a header and then added a second goal in the 88th.
The Under-20 tournament is adding to what is already a great year for Mexican football. The senior team won the regional championship, defeating the United States 4-2 in final of the Gold Cup. Mexico also won the Under-17 World Cup, beating Uruguay 2-0.
“There was a lot of celebrating when I went into the dressing room after the match,” Mexico coach Juan Carlos Chavez said. “When I came in I turned off the music. Fortunately, we are in the semifinals but we are not champions. That is when it will be time to celebrate.”
The loss was a heartbreaker for a 42,000 sellout crowd in Bogota, where Colombia had won its first four games.
“I feel a little sorry for the home fans,” Chavez added. “But we worked hard against a good team and managed to win. Maybe there were 40,000 people here cheering for Colombia, but we have 120 million Mexicans supporting us at a distance.”
Mexico also defeated Colombia 2-1 in a warm-up tournament before this event.
Colombia had chances early, buoyed by the noisy crowd. The team outshot Mexico 21-9 in the match, but many of its shots were off-target — unlike Mexico’s.
Mexico took an early 1-0 lead when Erick Torres converted a penalty in the 38th. The spot kick came after Diego Reyes was pushed and fell in the area with Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir calling the penalty, which was not disputed by the Colombians.
Colombia equalized in the 60th, taking advantage of a mistake by Mexico keeper Jose Rodriguez. Duvan Zapata let loose with a long-range shot that bounced once and passed between the legs of Rodriguez as he was dropping to his knees.
Mexico regained the lead in the 69th when Ulises Davila delivered a perfect corner and Rivera leaped high to head home from 10 meters (yards) with Colombia keeper Cristian Bonilla barely getting his fingertips on the ball. Rivera’s second goal was a rising drive from 20 meters (yards) that glanced off Bonilla’s upper arm before going in.
Colombia dominated the first half with 12 shots to two for Mexico, although only two of Colombia’s shots were on target.
Colombia attacked from the first minute with Luis Muriel, Hector Quinones and Zapata having good chances. The best chance may have been Muriel’s shot in the 21st, which Mexico keeper Rodriguez just tipped over the crossbar.
But Colombia seemed to wear down after the early surge, and then was set back by Mexico’s opening goal. The equalizer gave the Colombians hope, but Rivera snuffed that out with his two late goals.