Heroic Colom­bia turn the ta­bles on US, march ahead

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Fifau17worldcup - San­j­jeev K Samyal san­j­jeev.samyal@hin­dus­tan­times.com

AS NEWS TRICK­LED IN THAT GHANA HAD TAKEN A 2­0 LEAD, THE COLOM­BIANS STEPPED UP THE PACE

MUM­BAI: Colom­bia put up a heroic dis­play to turn the ta­ble on United States in their fi­nal group game. Colom­bia’s sen­sa­tional 3-1 win meant, US, Ghana and Colom­bia all fin­ished on six points each and the stand­ings would be de­cided on goal dif­fer­ence. US had started the game on the top of the ta­ble but were rel­e­gated to third spot, though they should be enough to go through as one of the four third-best teams in groups. Ghana topped and Colom­bia were sec­ond.

For dif­fer­ent rea­sons the two teams were un­der pres­sure - Colom­bia be­cause they had to get a pos­i­tive re­sult to stay in con­tention for the round of 16.

On the other hand, af­ter the de­ba­cle of the se­niors, who failed to qual­ify for the World Cup, the United States boys needed to put up a strong dis­play to ap­ply balms on the bro­ken hearts back home.

How­ever, to the dis­may of the US sup­port­ers, their young guns too floun­dered to leave a ques­tion mark on the health of the sport in the coun­try.

In fact, the way the game be­gan the signs were omi­nous for US when they con­ceded a soft goal within min­utes of the kick­off. The US de­fence was caught nap­ping on a throw-in from the right and Juan Vi­dal was left with a sim­ple task of tap­ping the ball in off hand­shak­ing dis­tance.

Colom­bia put up a much-im­proved dis­play af­ter sur­viv­ing the scare against In­dia. Their strat­egy of hard-run­ning game and at­tack­ing ev­ery ball didn’t al­low the US team to set­tle into any sort of rhythm.

Colom­bia for­wards Deiber Caicedo and Vi­dal har­ried the cen­tral de­fend­ers by rush­ing on to them ev­ery time they had the ball. The Colom­bians cut off the sup­ply-lines to dan­ger­man Sar­gent, who had to re­peat­edly fall back to beef up his de­fence.

As news trick­led in that Ghana had taken a 2-0 lead, the Colom­bians stepped up the pace. Soon, they were in full flow and cut­ting through the US de­fence with swift pass­ing play.

Their ef­forts bore fruit in the 67th minute when they were awarded a free-kick on the left side of the box. It was a very cute an­gle but Juan Pe­naloza pro­duced a beauty.

From there on, Colom­bia were putting on a show of South Amer­i­can foot­ball — there was a spec­tac­u­lar side vol­ley from Juan Vi­dal and ris­ing shot from Yadir Menezes that had the US goal­keeper stretch­ing.

AP

USA’s Sergino Dest (left) fights for ball with Le­an­dro Cam­paz.

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