Brazil continued their winning romp through the Copa America Wednesday, eking out a controversial 2-1 victory against Colombia after struggling most of the match to answer a magnificent bicycle-kick goal by Luis Diaz.
Porto winger Diaz opened the scoring in Rio de Janeiro in the 10th minute, when Juan Cuadrado lobbed an arcing cross from just outside the penalty area.
Diaz executed a spectacular bicycle kick to rifle the ball past Brazil keeper Weverton.
Colombia looked content to play defense after that, and Brazil dominated possession – but struggled to create opportunities.
Brazil vs Colombia Highlights
Then, in the 78th minute, Firmino finally found the equalizer with a header past Colombian keeper David Ospina.
Colombia immediately erupted into protest, arguing Pitana’s contact with the ball seconds earlier should have stopped play.
But Pitana, who refereed the 2018 World Cup final, ruled the goal valid after checking the video.
“It’s sad that with all the effort we made against one of the best teams in the world, we lost the match on a call like that,” said Juventus striker Cuadrado.
“A referee with that much international experience, who’s refereed at the World Cup, makes a mistake and hurts the match. We never got past that play.”
Insult was added to injury 10 minutes into stoppage time when Casemiro headed a Neymar corner past a distracted Colombia defense to give Brazil the win.
The victory was steeped in controversy: Brazil’s second-half equaliser, a Roberto Firmino header, was preceded by a Neymar pass that glanced off Argentine referee Nestor Pitana.
Colombia heatedly argued afterward that play should have been stopped, but Pitana ruled neither side was hindered and allowed the match to continue.