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Rediff.com  » Sports » Copa America: Brazil held to 0-0 draw; Colombia win

Copa America: Brazil held to 0-0 draw; Colombia win

Last updated on: June 25, 2024 14:56 IST
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IMAGE: Brazil dominated possession but lacked precision in front of goal with just three of their 19 shots on target against Costa Rica. Photograph: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Brazil missed a string of chances and were left to rue a lack of quality in the final third after they were held 0-0 by Costa Rica in their Copa America Group D opener in Los Angeles on Monday.

Brazil, who came into the Copa America on the back of a run of poor results in recent months, dominated possession but lacked precision in front of goal with just three of their 19 shots on target.

 

"Now it's about being honest with ourselves, creating alternatives to create chances, scoring, results are important in this competition, points left at the beginning can complicate things at the end," Brazil defender Marquinhos said.

They were frustrated by a resolute five-man Costa Rican defence, who looked to contain their opponents and deprive them of space. The strategy paid dividends even if Gustavo Alfaro's side rode their luck at times.

Alfaro said Costa Rica had been written off before the match had even started.

"We were Bruce Willis in 'The Sixth Sense,' where the only one that did not know he was dead was him, right?" he said through an interpreter.

"Well, everyone thought we were dead before the movie started in our case."

Raphinha had an excellent early opportunity to score after latching onto a long ball over the top from Rodrygo, but Costa Rica keeper Patrick Sequeira came quickly off his line to snuff out the danger.

IMAGE: Brazil's Bruno Guimaraes tries to dribble his way past a Costa Rica player. Photograph: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Brazil thought they had got the breakthrough in the 30th minute when a free kick was flicked on by Rodrygo into the path of Marquinhos, who poked it in at the far post but the goal was disallowed for offside after a lengthy VAR delay.

The one-way traffic continued after the break and Lucas Paqueta rattled the woodwork with a long-range effort in the 63rd minute before a venomous Guilherme Arana strike was kept out by a fine save from Sequeira.

Coach Dorival Junior brought on youngsters Endrick and Savio in the 70th minute as Brazil desperately sought a winner but Paqueta twice shot wide in the final 10 minutes as the nine-times champions failed to break the deadlock.

"We played a great game, we fought until the end, I had three chances myself, we were frustrated not to win, but we left with confidence, we fought," Paqueta said.

"We played our game, we have to improve our finishing, myself in particular and other players, so that we can win."

Brazil's all-time leading scorer Neymar, who has been sidelined by an anterior cruciate ligament injury, cut a dejected figure as he looked on from the stands.

Costa Rica, who had lost three times to Brazil at the World Cup and twice more in previous Copa America encounters, had only two shots during Monday's game with none on target but held on to claim what could prove a valuable point in their campaign in the United States.

Colombia ease to win over Paraguay

Jefferson Lerma (16) is congratulated by teammates after scoring Colombia's second goal against Paraguay in the Copa America match at NRG stadium in Houston on Monday.

IMAGE: Jefferson Lerma (16) is congratulated by teammates after scoring Colombia's second goal against Paraguay in the Copa America match at NRG stadium in Houston on Monday. Photograph: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

James Rodriguez created both goals in Colombia's 2-1 win over Paraguay in their opening Copa America Group D game in Houston on Monday, as the 2001 champions underlined their status as title contenders.

Nestor Lorenzo's side dominated possession in the first half and took the lead in the 32nd minute at the NRG Stadium when Daniel Munoz arrived at the far post to head in James Rodriguez's cross.

Captain Rodriguez grabbed a second assist 10 minutes later when he whipped in a dangerous free-kick, with Jefferson Lerma's glancing header evading Paraguay goalkeeper Rodrigo Morinigo.

Paraguay got a goal back after the break through Brighton & Hove Albion forward Julio Enciso, but were unable to find an equaliser as Colombia defended well to secure the victory and extend their unbeaten run to 24 matches.

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Source: REUTERS
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