Peru beat Paraguay in shootout to reach semifinals

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Peru beat Paraguay 4-3 on penalties to move into the Copa America semifinals on Friday following an action-packed match that ended 3-3 after 90 minutes.

Gustavo Gomez put Paraguay ahead in the 10th minutes but two goals from Ginluca Lapadula gave Peru the upper hand before Gomez was sent off on the stroke of half-time.

Junior Alonso equalised for Paraguay nine minutes into the second half only for Yoshimar Yotun’s 80th minute shot to be deflected past Antony Silva. Just when it looked like that would be it, Paraguay equalised again in the final minute through Gabriel Avalos, moments after Peru’s Andre Carrillo had been shown a red card.

David Martinez, Braian Samudio, and Alberto Espinola all missed in the shoot-out for Paraguay, but Miguel Trauco guaranteed Peru a spot in the semifinals for the second Copa in a row after Santiago Ormeno and Christian Cueva had their kicks saved.

Argentina will take on Ecuador in the other quarter final on Sunday while Uruguay will face Colombia.

Peru hadn’t lost to Paraguay since 2014, a run that stretched back for seven games. But they went behind after just 11 minutes when Gustavo Gomez was on hand to push a parried save from Pedro Gallese into the net from close range.

Peru fought back quickly with Andre Carrillo, who was superb on the flanks, instrumental in creating two chances that Gianluca Lapadula put away with aplomb.

Lapadula, the Italian-Peruvian who plays for Benevento in Italy, had scored just once in his first eight games for Peru but he doubled that tally by half-time.

The first came in 21 minutes when he turned in a Carrillo cross from the left and the second came five minutes before half time when he ran on to a through-pass to slip the ball under an advancing Antony Silva.

A game that would feature 32 fouls and six yellow cards saw its first red just seconds before half-time when Paraguayan captain Gomez was shown a second yellow minutes after getting a first for dissent.

That left Paraguay facing a full 45 minutes against 10 men, but it was they who started strongest in the second half and they equalised after 54 minutes when Junior Alonso seized on a loose ball from a corner kick and lifted it into the roof of the net.

Gabriel Avalos then prompted ecstatic scenes for the Paraguayans when he drew things level with his first international goal in the final minute of the match.

Peru will face reigning champions Brazil in the semifinal.

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