Miami Gardens, FL – When it comes to international friendlies in soccer, none are more contested than when two South American powerhouses face off. There is no such thing as a friendly match on that continent. Pride, bragging rights, and deep historical storylines are always in play. This past September, we got to watch Brazil take on Colombia in a not-so-friendly match that saw Brazilian star, Neymar go crashing into the side barriers, only to end the match in a 2-2 draw. Tonight, Colombia returned to Miami, this time facing off against Peru in Los Cafeteros vs Blanquirroja at the battle of the Putumayo.
Miami is full of both Colombians and Peruvians. Their rivalry is more prideful than hateful. Nothing some aguardiente or pisco won’t fix. On the field, however, it’s all business. Both teams attacked and defended aggressively. Colombia outshot Peru, 10-7. The last shot was the one that ultimately decided the 1-0 outcome, as Alfredo Morelos scored off a set-piece header in the 90th+ minute. The ball barely crossed the line and the goal had to be confirmed. Cumbia time!
Despite the win for Colombia, Peru actually had more accurate shots on goal (4-3), forcing Colombia’s GK, David Ospina to make some incredible saves. Defensively, Peru went with the “If you ain’t fouling, you ain’t defending” mantra. The Blanquirroja committed 10 fouls, as opposed to Colombia’s five, but four of those five Colombian fouls resulted in yellow card bookings for Colombia players (Jefferson Lerma 43′, Alfredo Morales 62′, Yerry Mina 70′, and Mateus Uribe 86′).
Missing in Action for Colombia was James Rodriguez. The Colombian Football Federation released a statement Friday morning saying that “…during Thursday’s training session, in an accidental movement, James Rodriguez complained of discomfort in his left knee.” They also said, “as a precaution, the player James Rodríguez will not be unavailable for the match versus Perú.
In a week during Euro Cup qualifiers (yawn), InterMiami CF announcing their 1st opponent in 2020, and the MLS Cup final, a Los Cafeteros vs Blanquirroja “friendly” attracted 36, 063 fans on a rainy Friday night.
📸Credit: Vicky Alves