Peru 2-0 Colombia (AET): Colombia waste chances and Peru exploit goalkeeping mistakes

July 16, 2011

The starting line-ups

Carlos Lobaton and Juan Vargas scored thumping extra time goals to put Peru into the semis.

Hernan Gomez named his expected side, in a 4-3-3 formation.

Sergio Markarian also named 4-3-3, though his side featured many changes from the final group stage game against Chile, when various players were rested.

Colombia had the better chances, but Peru were always in the game and largely defended well.

Peru pressing

The first half was an interesting battle. Peru, having played relatively defensively for most of the tournament, were more attacking than many might have expected, getting players forward into the box early on. They were also more positive without the ball. They pressed heavily in the midfield zone at the start of this game, putting Colombia under pressure and breaking up their patient passing game. Luis Advincula was booked for a tackle within thirty seconds, summing how how eager Peru were to get stuck in.

The formations were fairly similar – 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3, depending on how you want to look at it. For Peru, Paolo Guerrero played very much to the left, looking to link up with Juan Vargas – and most of Peru’s play came down that side. This left William Chiroque on his own down the right, but he dribbled at Pablo Armero and caused some problems on his own.

Attacking combinations

Falcao played deep for Colombia, trying to force the centre-backs out. Alberto Rodriguez, in keeping with the rest of the side, tried to get in front of his man to intercept the ball which looked a little dangerous, but Christian Ramos was generally in a position to cover.

Gustavo Ramos of Colombia played narrower and deeper than in other games, and the majority of Colombia’s attacks came down their right in the first half, with Carlos Moreno involved, and Fredy Guarin sneaking forward down that side to whip a couple of good balls in for Falcao, as he did in the Europa League final.

Colombia’s front players were generally looking to close down when they lost the ball, unlike in other game where the wide players have retreated quickly to a position level with the midfield players. However, because the front players were pressing but Mario Yepes and Luis Perea wanted to defend deep, this meant Colombia weren’t compact enough and left space between the lines. Peru didn’t exploit this a great deal, though Vargas had a couple of long-range shots when not closed down.

Second half

The tempo of the game dropped a little after half time – Peru’s pressing was less intense, although they still defended with a highish line. Now they had no pressure on the ball in midfield, this was a dangerous tactic – and they should have been made to pay for it.

The third factor in this equation concerned the speed of the Colombian front three, particularly Ramos on the right. Twice in quick succession, Mario Yepes strolled forward on the ball in midfield, and launched pinpoint passes over the top for Ramos to run onto. The first time, he shot wide from a narrow angle – the second time, he was brought down by Rodriguez (who is a decent defender but always has a mistake in him) for a penalty. Falcao hit the ball wide from the spot.┬áMoreno then had a third chance from this same ball in behind the left-back, Walter Vilchez – although this time it was a pass from Guarin. He hit the woodwork.

This should have been the major tactical talking point – Peru’s drop in pressing was arguably the only major change in tactics throughout the game. As it was, the match continued in a fairly even fashion – although as Colombia hit the woodwork twice as well as missing from the spot, they can feel they created the game’s better chances.

Guerrero continued to play the lone striker role well – he has the strength to hold up the ball, as well as a decent amount of pace to get to balls slid into the channels. Peru’ s midfield was deeper in the second half of the game, however, and Vargas was barely involved. Guerrero had to fend for himself most of the time, though substitute Carlos Loboton came on to provide fresh legs from midfield.

Colombia’s change was Hugo Rodallega on for Ramos on the left – he didn’t offer a great deal more penetration.

Extra time

Neither manager really took a risk and tried to get the winner – and it was a set-piece combined with a goalkeeping error from Luis Martinez – who flapped at crosses all game – that got Peru in front.

Gomez responded with Teofilo Gutierrez on for Abel Aguilar and more of a 4-2-4ish system, but they didn’t play much better – Vargas got the second after another Martinez mistake.


A difficult match to assess tactically. Colombia should have won the game with the chances they created – most obviously the penalty. That said, Peru were the underdogs here, and Markarian’s tactics helped Peru compete. The pressing worked well in the first half, but they were lucky not to be punished when they stopped closing down and kept their high line.

The actual victory, however, owed more to individual mistakes than tactics.

Tags: , , ,