Sunday, June 5, 2016

Just one goal - Guerrero in Peru's record books

Last evening marked day 2 of the Copa América Centenario. While most teams failed to convince or even score a goal, Peru's Paolo Guerrero set a new record for his country.

The first game was played between Costa Rica and Paraguay and that was pretty much all there is to say about that. Not many supporters came out to support the teams in 32°C hot Orlando. Understandably, the game was not very fast and lacked cutting edge chances throughout the 90 minutes, before lastly finishing 0-0. 

A game that was very aggressive in the opening stages started off with a yellow card for Costa Rica's Yeltsin Tejeda inside the first 25 seconds. Solid chances came from headers alone, Bryan Ruiz saw his attempt saved comfortably by Colo Colo's Justo Villar. On the other end, Dario Lezcano, who had previously convinced for his country in the World Cup qualification, headed on target himself, but could not find the back of the net either. 

At the end of the night, Kendall Watson set the appropriate Latin American end to the game by getting himself sent off in added time with a straight red card. With their one point after the first game, both Costa Rica and Paraguay move into second place in Group A. They trail Colombia (3) and find themselves ahead of the USA (0). 

Paolo Guerrero, Peru's record goalscorer. (Photo: picture alliance)
The only goal of the Copa América night was scored by Peru. Who else but Paolo Guerrero would be the one to convert? With his 61st minute goal, the Flamengo striker wrote history, moving past Peruvian legend Teofilo Cubillas for most goals ever scored for his country (27). 

Outsiders Haiti did not stand a big chance against their South American opponent, collecting just one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes. Before Guerrero even scored, it could have been Peru in the lead already, but Edison Flores only hit the post on the brink of halftime. Going into the second half, Peru kept their dominance up and were rightfully rewarded through Guerrero's header from 5 metres after a nice cross from the left side.

Peru continued to be the better team and ended up celebrating their first three points of the tournament. Haiti simply find themselves where everyone expected them, the experience of playing the Copa América will still be a valuable one for the team. 

Over in Pasadena, Brazil entered the competition with a 0-0 draw against Ecuador. They were lucky in the process, as a good goal for their opponents seconds into the second half was not given by the refereeing team. They had seen the ball cross the goalline, before Alisson turned it into his own net. 

While the Brazilians looked superior, the statistics that actually matter look grim for the record World Champions. Despite their ton of possession and excellent passing success, they never managed to find the dangerous areas on the field, ending up with a total of two shots on target. Not good enough for a team that severely missing their stars like Neymar and Douglas Costa's speed up front.

Philippe Coutinho tried his luck early (6'), Lucas late (84'), none of them could find the back of the net past Javier Dreer. By the final whistle, everyone was somewhat happy for the game to be over, just Ecuador felt like they should have won. They meet Peru in their next outing, while Brazil face Haiti in their attempt to reach their first three points.


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