Colombia inflicted Brazil’s first defeat since last year’s World Cup humiliation and revived its own hopes in South America’s Copa America with a 1-0 victory in Santiago, Chile.
Defender Jeison Murillo chose the right moment to score his first goal for the national team when he pounced on Brazil’s failure to clear the ball. His low shot beat goalkeeper Jefferson in the 36th minute.
The result means Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela all have three points in Group C of the 12-team tournament. Venezuela can go clear with at least a draw against Peru in the group’s other game Thursday.
Brazil had won 11 straight games since it was humiliated in front of its own fans at the World Cup. It suffered a record 7-1 semifinal defeat to eventual winner Germany before losing 3-0 to the Netherlands in a third place playoff. The defeat is the first for coach Dunga in his second spell in charge of the five-time World Cup winners.
Brazil’s run almost ended in the last game when it took a late winner from substitute Douglas Costa to secure a 2-1 victory over Peru. Colombia, who enjoyed the majority of support at the Estadio Monumental, suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Venezuela in its tournament opener. The top two teams in each of the three groups qualify for the knockout stages, and they’ll be joined by the two best third-placed teams.
Colombia, which won its only Copa America title in 2001, should have had more than one goal to show for its dominance at halftime but squandered several chances, with Radamel Falcao and Juan Caudrado the chief culprits.
Brazil, an eight time champion, almost capitalized on the stroke of halftime when Barcelona’s Neymar forced goalkeeper David Ospina into a close range stop.
Coach Dunga tried to revive Brazil’s fortunes with an immediate change at the break, bringing in Philippe Coutinho for Fred. It should have leveled through Roberto Firmino but with Ospina down, and the entire goal to aim for, the forward failed to hit the target.
He made further changes though none yielded a breakthrough as Colombia held on during a frantic finale to record its first Copa America win over Brazil since 1991.
Neymar and Colombia’s Carlos Bacca received red cards following a clash at the end of the game.
The 99-year-old competition is soccer’s oldest regional national team tournament.