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Peru beat Paraguay on penalties to reach Copa America semi-finals

GOIANIA, Brazil, July 2 (Xinhua) — Peru advanced to the Copa America semifinals for the second time in three years with a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Paraguay here on Friday.

Miguel Trauco converted the decisive spot-kick after the teams were locked at 3-3 at the end of normal time at Estadio Olimpico in Goiania.

Gustavo Gomez gave Paraguay the lead with an 11th-minute strike but Gianluca Lapadula equalized from close range after combining with Andre Carrillo.

Lapadula then put the Blanquirroja ahead, slotting a cool finish past goalkeeper Antony Silva following Yoshimar Yotun’s through ball.

Paraguay were reduced to 10 men just before halftime when Gustavo Gomez was booked twice in less than five minutes for reckless challenges.

But the Guaranies refused to yield and they were back on level terms when Junior Alonso bundled home at the far post, capitalizing on some chaotic Peru defending from a corner.

Yotun restored Peru’s lead when his long-range effort took a deflection, leaving Silva with no chance.

But the game took another unexpected turn in the 85th minute when Carrillo was also dismissed for a second yellow-card offense.

Gabriel Avalos made it 3-3 with a first-time shot from inside the six-yard box after Braian Samudio’s driving run and cut-back from the left wing.

With no extra-time played in South America’s major competitions, the game when straight to a penalty shootout.

Hector Martinez, Samudio and Alberto Espinola all missed their attempts for Paraguay while Santiago Ormeno and Christian Cueva also frittered away their chances for Peru.

Trauco held his nerve with his side’s sixth attempt to keep alive Peru’s hopes of a third Copa America title and first since 1975.

Ricardo Gareca’s men will play either Brazil or Chile at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic stadium on Monday, with the winner earning a place in the final on July 10.

Peru were runners up in the 2019 edition, losing 3-1 to hosts Brazil at Rio’s Maracana stadium. Enditem

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