Colombia controlled the game for the first 88 minutes but lost in the final 2 minutes. In a game that Los Cafeteros needed in order to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, a noticeably tired Colombian team allowed two goals within the final three minutes to fall to Paraguay 2-1, putting their World Cup hopes in serious jeopardy.
With Colombia leading 1-0 in the 89th minute, Paraguay moved all 11 players forward, including their goalkeeper. Óscar Cardozo crept into the box and scored the equalizer, tying the game. Paraguay’s second goal came three minutes later in extra time, as Tony Sanabria took advantage of a lapse in the Colombian defense to score the game winning goal.
The loss puts Colombia into a precarious position with only one game remaining in World Cup qualifying. Though currently in 4th place with 26 points, Colombia will now face Peru next Tuesday in Lima. A loss in Peru could end the country’s hopes to qualify to qualify.
Colombian coach José Pékerman will be criticized for several questionable decisions in the game, including his decision to substitute for Juan Cuadrado in the 63rd minute. Cuadrado played well in the game and the team’s time of possession dropped considerably after his exit.
The loss will also call into question the team’s commitment to playing home games in the coastal city of Barranquilla, where the heat and humidity clearly took a toll on the players. With most of Colombia’s team playing in Europe with European clubs, the heat has been more of a disadvantage for the home team than the away team.
Colombia will play Peru in Lima on Tuesday, October 10th at 6:30pm Colombia time (UTF-5).