Sunday, December 17, 2017

Colombia v Peru: Pekerman warms up for World Cup qualifiers

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Sep 2015

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A relatively new-look Colombia will warm up for their World Cup qualification campaign with a friendly against Peru in Barranquilla on Tuesday.

Jose Pekerman’s side have not played since their quarter-final exit in the Copa America at the hands of Argentina and the coach will likely offer opportunities to more inexperienced players against Ricardo Gareca’s Peru.

Neither Radael Falcao nor Juan Cuadrado are in the squad because of their relative lack of match action at club level.

The likes of Camilo Zuniga, Pablo Armero, Luis Fernando Muriel, Edwin Valencia, Victor Ibarbo and Freddy Guarin are also not present.

Their absences will free up space within Pekerman’s line-up, while the likes of Jackson Martinez and Carlos Bacca will hope to cement their starting spots for when Colombia and Peru meet again for their first qualifiers in October.

Striker Bacca has enjoyed a strong start to life at Milan – scoring in their 2-1 win over Empoli last time out – and insists the national squad will welcome further competition.

“I am very happy to be back here in the selection, wearing the shirt for me is a very proud moment,” he said.

“I think I have started well with my club, I had a good start and am scoring goals, so as a striker that gives you confidence to keep working.

“We are in the Colombian team and now we are preparing for the game against Peru, we know that we have no friendly matches and we must prepare in the best way.

“This is a family. We are humble people who will open the doors to new team-mates, we know that if you are here then it is because you have worked and have earned it. 

“This is a very open group.”

Peru proved one of the surprise packages in this year’s Copa, reaching the semi-finals before bowing out to eventual winners Chile in Santiago.

Gareca’s men tasted defeat on their first outing since the competition on Saturday as they let a one-goal lead slip in a 2-1 defeat to United States.

Peru have not beaten Colombia in their last three attempts – the sides having played out a goalless draw in the Copa group stage in June.

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