Colombia beat Paraguay 2-1 thanks to an inspiring performance by James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez showcased his skills to lead Colombia to a successful start in the Copa America tournament, defeating Paraguay 2-1 in Houston, Texas on Monday.

Rodriguez, whose professional career has been stagnant for the past ten years since his breakout performance at the 2014 World Cup, was responsible for both of his team’s goals in a well-deserved win against Group D at the NRG Stadium.

At the age of 32, the midfielder assisted in the first goal for Colombia in the 32nd minute, despite only playing a few minutes for his Brazilian club Sao Paulo in the two months before the Copa America.

Following his successful movement towards the left side, Rodriguez delivered a precise cross to the far post where Daniel Munoz was waiting. Munoz then outplayed Paraguay’s goalkeeper Rodrigo Morinigo with a strong header directed downwards, resulting in a 1-0 lead.

Colombia managed to score another goal ten minutes later, once again thanks to Rodriguez’s reliable left foot.

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This time, the objective was achieved from the opposite side, as Rodriguez delivered a cunning free-kick which was deflected into the net by Jefferson Lerma, the midfielder for Crystal Palace.

At the end of the first half, the score was 2-0, putting Colombia in a strong position to continue their unbeaten run of 24 games.

In the second half, Colombia maintained their advantage by creating more opportunities, but Paraguay added tension to the game when Julio Enciso from Brighton and Hove Albion scored a goal in the 69th minute.

Ramon Sosa made a cross from the left side, and Enciso took advantage of poor marking in the Colombia box to skillfully score an angled first-time volley into the bottom corner beyond Camilo Vargas’s reach.

After Paraguay scored their goal, Colombia took control of the game and appeared to be the more dangerous team.

In the 84th minute, the Colombians believed that they had received a penalty due to a tantalising cross from Rodriguez, which resulted in defender Yerry Mina being seemingly pulled down by Gustavo Velazquez.

After a review by VAR, the Argentine referee, Dario Herrera, originally awarded a penalty but later reversed his decision.

On Friday, Colombia will face Costa Rica in their second match.

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