Colombia squad take victory in the opening match of the 2016 Copa America after a stunning opening ceremony and a perfect start to the game
The Copa America 2016 got underway tonight in Santa Clara, California. The Colombia squad had the honour of playing hosts USA in the opening match following an elaborate opening ceremony featuring the likes of Jason Derulo and Magic as well as fly overs from US fighter jets. The tournament is the 100th anniversary of what is the oldest international football competition on Earth.
COLOMBIA 2 – 0 USA
Colombia got off to the perfect start in the game. A corner in the 8th minute from Edwin Cardona was met by a perfect first time volley from Cristian Zapata and it flew into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to Los Cafeteros. Brilliant play from the central defender that Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of!
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Colombia continued to dominate the first half and their strength was rewarded in the 40th minute when Deandre Yedlin handled in the box and the referee awarded Colombia a penalty. James Rodriguez stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-0 to La Selección.
The Colombian team had numerous chances to extend their advantage early in the second half but it was the USA who came closest to scoring when Sebastian Perez was forced to clear a header off the goal line. Minutes later, David Ospina had to produce an acrobatic save to keep out a free kick from Clint Dempsey.
There was a moment of concern as James had to leave the pitch with an injury. He managed to come back on to the field of play but was substituted soon after as a precaution. Colombia passed up another chance to put the game beyond doubt when Carlos Bacca smashed a close range shot against the crossbar.
The opening match eventually finished 2-0 to Colombia. It was a performance reminiscent of their great run at the 2014 World Cup, full of flair and attacking intent. Let’s hope that they can keep it up over the next few weeks.
By Daniel Tinsley