International Soccer

Player ratings as James Rodriguez and Colombia stay unbeaten after emphatic quarter-final win

Colombia defeated Panama 5-0 in the Copa America 2024 quarter-finals, extending their unbeaten streak to 27 games and punching their ticket to the tournament’s semifinals.

Colombia came into Copa America 2024 as the dark horses of the competition, but Los Cafeteros proved they are true contenders after finishing atop Group D while Brazil, the fourth ranked team in the world, settled for second. The last time Nestor Lorenzo’s squad lost a match was back in February 2022, and James Rodriguez and co. looked to continue their impressive run of form against Panama in the quarter-finals.

How the game unfolded

As soon as the match kicked off, Colombia had their sights set on goal, and it only took Los Cafeteros seven minutes to score. James Rodriguez swung in a pinpoint corner that landed right on the head of Jhon Cordoba, who did not miss from five yards out.

Despite their early 1-0 lead, the Group D winners did not take their foot off the gas. In the 13th minute, Jhon Arias broke free and made an electric run into the box; Orlando Mosquera came off his line and dove for the ball, but instead, he only made contact with Arias, awarding Colombia a penalty. Rodriguez stepped up and emphatically buried the shot to put his side up 2-0.

Panama regrouped after giving up two early goals, but Los Canaleros could not find the back of the net. Then, just before halftime, Rodriguez took a quick free kick from his own half, catching Panama’s defense by surprise. He played a brilliant ball over the top of Panama’s backline that put Luis Diaz through on goal, and the Liverpool man cleverly chipped it over Mosquera for the 3-0 lead.

To no surprise, Colombia dominated the second half, eager to add to the scoreline. What seemed like an inevitable fourth goal came in the 70th minute. Daniel Munoz looked to draw a penalty after Jovani Welch made a poor tackle inside the box, but the referee played the advantage, allowing Richard Rios to bury a powerful strike from distance past Mosquera.

With the game wrapped up, Nestor Lorenzo gave his bench playing time for the final 20 minutes. Santiago Arias was the victim of a harsh collision in the box, leaving the referee no choice but to whistle for a penalty in the 95th minute. Miguel Borja made no mistake from the spot, ending Colombia’s storybook night with a fifth goal.

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Luis Diaz scored Colombia’s third goal just before halftime. / CHRIS CODUTO/GettyImages

GK: Camilo Vargas – 6/10 – Vargas kept his second clean sheet of the tournament, facing 14 total shots.

RB: Daniel Munoz – 7/10 – Munoz used his physicality to minimize Panama’s threat in the final third. The right-back also contributed to the attack, assisting Rios’ goal.

CB: Davinson Sanchez – 6/10 – Sanchez made several crucial clearances in the first half to keep Panama off the scoresheet, and successfully locked down Eduardo Guerrero in the second half.

CB: Carlos Cuesta – 6/10 – Cuesta did not put a foot wrong today, working well with Sanchez to keep Panama scoreless.

LB: Johan Mojica – 6/10 – Mojica did his job tonight with little fanfare. The left-back was solid on defense and linked up well with Luis Diaz.

CM: Richard Rios – 7/10 – Rios was everywhere tonight, pitching in defensively and then just as quickly transitioning to the attack. The midfielder got rewarded for his hard work with a goal in the second half.

CM: Mateus Uribe – 6/10 – Uribe tracked back well on defense when called upon, but otherwise, the midfielder had a quiet night.

CM: Jhon Arias – 7/10 – Arias used his speed to exploit Panama’s backline, winning the penalty that would double Colombia’s lead in the first half.

RW: James Rodriguez – 8/10 – Rodriguez continues to be Colombia’s most impactful player, recording two assists tonight and scoring from the spot. His set piece deliveries are second to none.

ST: Jhon Cordoba – 7/10 – Cordoba scored his second goal of the tournament to get Colombia on the scoresheet just eight minutes into the match.

LW: Luis Diaz – 7/10 – A few heavy touches let Diaz down early in the match, but the winger bounced back and scored a peach of a goal just before the half.

Substitutes

SUB: Luis Sinisterra – 5/10 – Sinisterra played the most minutes of any of the substitutes, but finished the game with little to show for it.

SUB: Jorge Carrascal – 5/10 – Carrascal came on to sure up the midfield and help maintain Colombia’s lead after Arias (and then Rodriguez) were subbed off.

SUB: Santiago Arias – 5/10 – Arias was sloppy in possession and committed numerous fouls, but he won Colombia’s second penalty.

SUB: Juan Quintero – 5/10 – Quintero came on in the 73rd minute, but failed to make an impression.

SUB: Miguel Borja – 6/10 – Borja did well to find space in the final third, but poor touches let him down. He redeemed himself when he buried a penalty in the 95th minute.

Manager

Nestor Lorenzo – 8/10 – Nestor Lorenzo continues to lead Colombia on their historic unbeaten streak. Although the Group D winners expected to win tonight, they did so in a dominant fashion that made a statement with the world watching. Lorenzo continues to put his trust in James Rodriguez, and the midfielder keeps delivering.

As managers around the world continue to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, Lorenzo continuously sets his team up to play on the front foot.

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