Luis Diaz scored a second-half double, the second an unstoppable 25-metre strike in injury time, to give Colombia a 3-2 win over Peru on Friday and secure them third place in the Copa America.
Yoshimar Yotun put Peru ahead on the stroke of half-time when he took Christian Cuevas’ pass and lifted it over the advancing goalkeeper.
However, Colombia captain Juan Cuadrado curled a free-kick through the wall to draw Colombia level after 49 minutes and then Diaz got his third goal of the tournament 17 minutes later.
Gianluca Lapadula headed an equaliser for Peru eight minutes from time but Diaz’s sensational last-gasp goal gave Colombia their fifth third-place finish and first since 2016.
Messi’s moment with Argentina?
Graffiti adorns the wall at the southern end of Copacabana beach on Avenida Atlantica by the old fort. It commemorates Germany’s win over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final, schadenfreude for Brazilians, taking comfort in their neighbours falling short.
That evening in the Estadio do Maracana will always be part of the Lionel Messi story. He could never hope to eclipse what Diego Maradona had done in Mexico in 1986 but this was his opportunity to hold a mirror up to it by bringing the World Cup back from Brazil.
His big chance came at the start of the second half. Manuel Neuer was well beaten but the ball drifted past the far post. Nobody had as many shots in that final, nobody created more chances and nobody completed even half as many dribbles. Nobody cared.
It felt like failure. Accepting the World Cup’s Golden Ball, a perverse joke. Twice, Messi has reached the final of the Copa America since then. Twice, Argentina have been beaten on penalties. Twice, Messi has been close to retiring, bereft, seemingly accepting of his fate.
On Saturday evening, three nights short of seven years since Messi’s date with destiny in the Maracana, he is set to return. A fourth Copa America final looms. Another shot at glory and redemption for the game’s most celebrated player, now 34 years young.
The Maracana will look and feel different. This Copa – moved to Brazil just weeks before it began – has been played out without crowds. It has taken some Messi magic to ignite it and there has been plenty of that on show. He has been the player of the tournament.
Read more of Adam Bate’s expert analysis on Messi HERE