Colombia beats Uruguay, will face Argentina in Copa América final

 Jefferson Lerma scored in the 39th minute, and Colombia played a man short the entire second half in a 1-0 win over Uruguay on Wednesday night to reach the Copa América final against Lionel Messi and Argentina. Daniel Muñoz was ejected in first-half stoppage time for his second yellow card, but Colombia held on to reach [[{“value”:”

Jefferson Lerma scored in the 39th minute, and Colombia played a man short the entire second half in a 1-0 win over Uruguay on Wednesday night to reach the Copa América final against Lionel Messi and Argentina.

Daniel Muñoz was ejected in first-half stoppage time for his second yellow card, but Colombia held on to reach the championship for the first time since winning its only Copa title as host in 2001. Colombia extended its unbeaten streak to a team record 28 games, one more than from 1992-94 and the longest current streak in men’s soccer.

In a contentious match that included seven yellow cards and one red, players from both teams pushed and shoved in a scrum on the field at the final whistle and some players went into the stands to scrap with fans.

Defending champion Argentina and Colombia meet Sunday night at Miami Gardens, Florida. Uruguay will play Canada in the third-place game on Saturday in Charlotte.

Before an overwhelmingly pro-Colombia crowd at Bank of America Stadium, filled with yellow jerseys and flags, Uruguay fell behind for the first time in the tournament.

James Rodríguez’s corner kick was headed in from short range by Lerma, who outjumped José María Giménez for his third international goal and second of the tournament. Rodríguez has six assists in the tournament — triple the total of any other player.

Muñoz received his first yellow card from Mexican referee César Ramos in the 31st minute for a reckless slide tackle on Maximiliano Araújo and his second for elbowing Manuel Ugarte in the stomach.

Rodríguez was given a yellow card in the 55th minute for arguing with Ramos when the referee failed to stop play when Richard Ríos was kicked on a shin by Darwin Núñez.

Ríos was removed on a stretcher, re-entered the match, then went down in another challenge and was substituted in the 62nd minute. Rodríguez was removed at the same time to keep him eligible for the final.

Colombia goalkeeper Federico Valverde didn’t have to make his first save until he stopped Nicolás de la Cruz in the 68th minute.

Luis Suárez, Uruguay’s career leader with 68 goals, entered in the 66th minute and hit the outside of a post with a shot in the 71st.

Colombia’s Mateus Uribe, another second-half sub, put an open shot wide in the 88th, and Uribe’s open shot in the fourth minute of stoppage time ricocheted off the body of sliding goalkeeper Sergio Rochet and then the crossbar.

The match was played in 90-degree heat on a surface that was converted from artificial turf to grass in the weeks leading up the game.

Argentina is seeking a record 16th Copa América title and is looking to join Spain as the only countries to win three straight major titles.

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