Colombia 1×1: James and Ríos lead the National Team in Houston

Colombia 1×1: James and Ríos lead the National Team in Houston
Colombia 1×1: James and Ríos lead the National Team in Houston

Mission accomplished in the debut. Colombia jumped to the NRG Stadium with the intention of scoring three points in its first match of the Copa América 2024. And although it faced a difficult Paraguay, Néstor Lorenzo’s team achieved its goal. With goals from Daniel Muñoz and Jefferson Lerma, they won 2-1 at the start of Group D. James Rodríguez and Richard Ríos were the best; Jhon Lucumí was injured.

Camilo Vargas: Without complications, he cleared Julio Enciso’s free kick to the side at Paraguay’s first warning. At 64 ‘he had another great intervention after Matías Espinoza’s mid-range shot. He couldn’t do anything about Albirroja’s goal.

Daniel Muñoz: With Richard Ríos playing inside and without a defined winger, -in attack- the right lane was his. In defense he had the difficult mission of marking Enciso, the best of the Paraguayans. Every time he went forward he was key in Colombia’s offensive. Proof of this is his goal in the 32nd minute to open the scoring in Houston: he appeared at the far post and headed in a precise cross from James to make an entire country celebrate.

Davinson Sánchez: Demanding match for the Galatasaray center back, as he had constant duels against Alex Arce, Paraguay forward. He failed to clear the ball on the rival’s goal play.

Jhon Lucumi: In a few minutes he was impeccable in coverage and attentive to closing. However, he received medical attention at 21′ after blocking a shot from Enciso and could not continue on the field. Sensitive drop for Colombia.

Johan Mojica: In the initial stage he was more focused on defending than attacking, since on his side was Miguel Almirón, a priori one of the rival’s best players. Like his teammates in defense and as a result of the disorganization, he fell back poorly in Paraguay’s goal-scoring action.

Jefferson Lerma: Reprimanded at the beginning for cutting off a quick exit from Paraguay with a tactical foul. He was the central midfielder and in charge of providing balance in the team. Shortly before the break he made it 2-0, connecting with a header after a James free kick. He left the field with discomfort in the 67th minute.

Richard Rios: He played a great interior game on the right, accompanying Lerma and Arias in midfield. He starred in Colombia’s first scoring opportunity in the Copa América: he recovered in the opposite field and took a mid-distance shot that skimmed the post. Shortly after, he made a great deep pass for Lucho Díaz, in a play that ended in a corner in favor of the Tricolor. Shot, dribble, recovery… A very complete performance by the Palmeiras midfielder. One of the figures, without a doubt.

John Arias: He didn’t get the spotlight like James or Ríos, but tactically he played a great game, even stealing the ball in the play for Muñoz’s goal. Silent work at the service of the National Team.

James Rodriguez: Absolute crack. The magic of his left leg is not in dispute. He had a hard time finding space at the start of the game, but he was decisive in his first intervention near the rival area. With a sensational delivery, he assisted Muñoz to make it 1-0. Later, he left another example of his quality: a perfect free kick to Lerma’s head for Colombia’s second. In the complementary part he had options to score, without effectiveness. Wearing the yellow shirt, ’10’ always delivers.

Luis Diaz: It started on. When the sixth minute of play was just over he left a painting to show in the Cup: footfall and luxury to avoid defenders on the left wing. In the second half he had two opportunities: in the first, he captured a rebound in the area and finished over the crossbar; Later, he received the center behind Muñoz, but his shot hit the net side, which did not add up.

Rafael Santos Borré: He played from the middle to the right in the Colombian attack, not as ‘9’ among the rival centre-backs. He had little participation on offense, but showed commitment on the defensive side, even dropping back as a false winger on the right. Sacrifice and physical deployment. He was replaced by Jhon Córdoba.

Those who entered

Yerry Mina: He replaced the injured Lucumí in the 25th minute. With his entry, Davinson began to play as the second central marker (on the left in the defense). In a section of the complement he was imprecise, missing passes on the way out. He jumped in to make inappropriate pressure and left the team unbalanced in Paraguay’s goal play.

Matheus Uribe: He came on for Lerma and unlike his role in most games of the Lorenzo era, he played as a midfielder, not as an interior player. He received the captain’s band following James’ departure.

Jhon Córdoba: Lorenzo opted for the man from Krasnodar for the last minutes of the game. Like Borré, he had little contact with the ball near the rival area.

Juan Fernando Quintero: He entered for James in added time.

Kevin Castaño: He played the last minutes in place of Arias. With his entry, Matheus began to play as an interior player.

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