Football: Riquelme Powers Argentina into Quarter-Finals

Juan Roman Riquelme's first-half double fired Argentina into the quarter-finals of the Copa America with a 4-2 win against 10-man Colombia on Monday.

Argentine Juan Roman Riquelme (C) vies for the ball with forward Andres Chitiva (C back) of Colombia during the Copa America 2007 group C football match

Edison Perea handed Colombia the lead but Hernan Crespo's penalty kick and Riquelme's brace handed Argentina a convincing halftime lead.

Jaime Castrillon pulled a goal back for Colombia with 18 minutes remaining, but following Fabian Vargas' dismissal, Diego Milito sealed the victory in stoppage time.

Argentina and Paraguay, who claimed a 3-1 victory over the United States earlier Monday, top Group C with unbeaten records and will meet Thursday to decide the group winner.

Colombia made a nervous start to the match and Argentina came close to opening the scoring after just five minutes as Crespo's header from Riquelme's corner struck the crossbar and bounced down on the line before being scrambled clear.

Crespo surpassed Diego Maradona's goal-scoring tally of 34 to move into second place on Argentina's list, but was unable to add to the total after being replaced by Milito moments after converting from the spot.

Colombia goalkeeper Miguel Calero denied Milito before Castrillon reduced the deficit after 72 minutes.

Midfielder Javier Arizala came close to snatching an equalizer with five minutes remaining as his long-range effort beat Roberto Abbondanzieri but struck the post before Vargas picked up his second yellow card.

Milito wasted an opportunity to re-establish the two goals cushion before finally sealling the win in stoppage time.

Source AFP

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