Colombia cruises past Panama in Copa America to advance to the semifinals – Orange County Register

By DAVID BRANDT AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jhon Córdoba, James Rodríguez and Luis Díaz scored goals during a dominant first half to spark Colombia to a 5-0 win over Panama in the quarterfinals of the Copa America on Saturday.

Colombia — which came into Saturday on a 26-match unbeaten streak — wasted little time on No. 27 when Córdoba’s well-placed header in the eighth minute found the bottom corner of the net following a corner kick from Rodríguez.

Los Cafeteros pushed ahead 2-0 less than 10 minutes later on Rodríguez’s powerful penalty kick. Colombia was awarded the penalty after Panama goalie Orlando Mosquera tripped up Colombia’s Jhon Arias, who was sprinting to save the ball from going out of bounds near the post.

It was the 32-year-old Rodríguez’s 28th goal in international play and his all-around excellence was on full display against Panama.

“He’s a good player, there’s nothing to explain,” said Colombia coach Néstor Lorenzo. “He’s a player who is happy inside the field.”

Colombia made it 3-0 in the 41st minute when Díaz lobbed a shot over Mosquera, who had charged forward during the breakaway. The goal was set up by another good pass from Rodríguez.

Panama had a few decent chances to score in the first half, including a header that bounced off the post before being swatted out of danger by Colombia goalie Camilo Vargas.

But Los Canaleros could never make a dent in the lead.

“Perhaps that could have brought us back in the game,” Panama manager Thomas Christiansen said. “But the mistakes we had — that’s not possible against teams like Colombia with their quality, speed and intensity. It’s not the result we wanted, not the result we deserved, but we have to learn from it.”

Colombia scored its fourth goal in the 70th minute when Richard Ríos blasted a long right-footed shot past Mosquera into the bottom left corner of the net. The final goal came in stoppage time when Miguel Borja converted a penalty kick.

Los Cafeteros had a slight advantage in time of possession at 52%, but the quality of their possessions was far superior.

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