U.S. win group after Costa Rica stun Colombia

Sun Jun 12, 2016 12:30am EDT
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(Reuters) - The United States beat Paraguay 1-0 and advanced to the quarter-finals of the Copa America as Group A winners on Saturday after Costa Rica stunned already-qualified Colombia 3-2.

The United States, who are hosting the tournament in its 100th anniversary, will next play the second-placed team in Group B. As it stands, Brazil top that group ahead of Peru and Ecuador, with Haiti already eliminated.

U.S. forward Clint Dempsey converted a low cross from Gyasi Zardes in the 27th minute as the hosts had the better of the early exchanges.

However, the Americans were reduced to 10 men shortly after half-time when right back DeAndre Yedlin received two yellow cards within a minute for aggressive tackles.

“The boys showed a lot of heart, especially after that red card,” Dempsey said. “Man, we showed a lot of character and we’re proud to advance to the next round.”

The United States looked set to fall behind in the 11th minute when Paraguay had a three-on-one break but defender John Brooks chased down Miguel Almiron to deliver a terrific sliding challenge and knock the ball out of play.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who made key saves from Jorge Benitez and Almiron in the 82nd minute, paid tribute to his defense.

"The guys in front of me were fantastic,” said Guzan. “Every now and then it’s up to the goalkeeper to come up with the save and I was lucky enough to do that tonight.”

In the later Group A game, Costa Rica’s Johan Venegas scored in the second minute before Frank Fabra pulled Colombia level four minutes later.   Continued...

United States midfielder Clint Dempsey (8) scores past Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar (1) during the first half of the group play stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario. at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports