Peru beat Paraguay on penalties to progress to the Semi-Final

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In an incredible game of football, Peru emerged as the first semifinalists of the CONMEBOL Copa América 2021 with a 4-3 penalty shootout win against Paraguay following a dramatic 3-3 draw.

The Peruvian goals were scored by Gianluca Lapadula, twice, and an own goal from Robert Rojas, while Gustavo Gómez, Junior Alonso y Gabriel Ávalos found the net for Paraguay.

The opening game of the quarterfinal was an exciting, fascinating encounter from start to finish.

Eduardo Berizzo’s side struck first early to take the lead and kick start a frantic 90 minutes of football.

With 10 minutes gone Héctor Martínez fired a powerful header which was well saved by Pedro Gallese but the ball deflected off Gustavo Gómez into the Paraguay net.

Paraguay almost doubled their advantage on 16 minutes but Gallese appeared again to make a big stop, this time the ball stayed out.

Gracually Ricardo Gareca’s side started to work their way into the game. First on 18 minutes Sergio Peña tried his luck from distance but was denied with an acrobatic  Antony Silva save.

On 20 minutes Carrillo, Peru’s tricky and most dangerous outlet on the night, worked an opening on the right, sent a cross into the box and Lapadula made it 1-1.

Paraguay almost restored their lead on 26 minutes but it was Peru who would strike next on 35 minutes.

Once again it was Carrillo who was key in the build up, playing it to Aldo Corzo who sent a perfect through ball to Lapadula who again converted confidently.

Paraguay found themselves down to 10 men just before the break as Gustavo was given a second yellow card.

Despite this, Paraguay emerged in the second half in seach of an equalizer and less than 10 minutes later they found it. A freekick was whipped into the box and Junior Alonso applied the left footed finish to restore parity.

In an increasingly open game chances began to arrive frequently. Christian Cueva worked a bit of magic to set up Trauco but the fullback was unable to find the net.

Moments later it was Santiago Ormeño chance to fire an effort on goal but Silva saved well. The third was coming and very shortly after it arrived.

With 10 minutes remaining the energetic, impressive Yoshimar Yotún hit a speculative effort from range which took a huge deflection to leave Silva helpless in the Paraguay goal. Peru had a one goal and one man advantage with little time left on the clock but the game would take yet another turn.

Firstly Carrillo would receive a second yellow card late and then finally second half substitute Gabriel Ávalos would find the net in the final seconds to make it 3-3.

With that an incredible game was concluded with a penalty shootout. Peru would ultimately with 4-3 to book their place in the semi final as one of the 4 best sides on the continent.

NUMBERS FROM THE GAME

 This was the second consecutive draw between Peru and Paraguay. In total 10 goals were scored in the last 2 games. In October 2020 the game finished 2-2 in World Cup qualifying and tonight it finished 3-3.

 Paraguay has scored 5 goals in their last 2 games against Peru (2 draws). This is the same number of goals as they scored in the 5 previous games (5 draws).

 Peru extend a run of 8 games unbeaten against Paraguay in all competitions (6 wins, 2 draws). Peru has scored at least once in all of the games in this run.

 Yoshimar Yotún scored his third goal for Peru. With today’s game he equals Cornelio Heredia and Paolo Guerrero as the player with the most games played in the Copa America (25).

 Gianluca Lapadula scored his second and third goals at the CONMEBOL Copa América 2021. This is first double for Peru after 9 games for the natioanal team in all competitions.

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