INCA UPSET Peru eliminates Brazil on controversial goal
By Frank Dell'Apa Soccer News Net Contributing Editor
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Raul Ruidiaz’s controversial goal gave Peru a 1-0 win over Brazil, giving the Peruvians first place in Group B and eliminating the Brazilians from the Copa America Centenario before a 36,187 crowd at Gillette Stadium Sunday night.
Peru (2-0-1, 7 points) advanced to a quarterfinal meeting with Colombia at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., at 8 p.m. Friday. The Brazilians (1-1-1, 4 points), who had a plus-five goal difference, were eliminated.
Ruidiaz finished an Andy Polo cross from the edge of the goal area, Brazil defender Joao Miranda and goalkeeper Alisson immediately protesting the ball went off his hand. Replays were unclear whether the ball went off Ruidiaz’s hand or thigh. During a nearly four-minute pause after the score, Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha appeared to be discussing the decision, though no allowance had been made for replays to factor in officiating decisions. Finally, Cunha again signaled the goal.
Brazil attempted to rally and had a chance to equalize, Elias redirecting a cross at Pedro Gallese from point blank range in the third minute of stoppage time.
Brazil coach Dunga went with a 4-2-3-1 alignment, keeping things under control but leaving 19-year-old forward Gabriel isolated. Hulk replaced Gabriel just before the goal, but Dunga did not alter the Brazil formation, or add another forward in the late-going, despite facing elimination with a defeat.
The Seleçao started strong, Gabriel going down in a clash with Alberto Rodriguez Junior in the seventh minute. Luis Filipe came forward, his drive from outside the penalty area saved by Gallese in the 12th minute, Renato Augusto volleying a scissor kick high off a corner. A Christian Cueva giveaway was taken by Philippe Coutinho, who went down just inside in the penalty area, failing to get off a shot. In the 21st minute, Gallese collided with a teammate, Cunha stopping the action.
Cunha allowed play to continue, despite both teams claiming penalties at least three times.
Brazil’s Lucas Lima went down after a clash with Christian Ramos in the 24th minute, Cunha allowing play to continue as the Brazilians called for a penalty.
In the 27th minute, Elias made a steal a fed Gabriel, who turned for a left-footer, Gallese making a diving save to his right. In the 36th minute, Willian left-footed a cross high from 10 yards. Gabriel had a drive tipped over in the 41st minute. Cueva appeared to be tripped in the penalty area soon after, Cunha again allowing play to continue.
In the second half, Brazil’s attack stagnated and Peru began to find spaces. In the 49th minute, Alisson tipped away Cueva’s free kick. Ruidiaz, a 25-year-old forward who plays for Universitario de Deportes, replaced Edison Flores in the 64th minute, and 11 minutes later decided the match.