Colombia won, securing a narrow 1-0 victory against Venezuela in the first match of the South American Qualifiers on the road to the 2026 World Cup. The sole goal, scored by Rafael Santos Borre early in the second half, decided the game in favor of the home team, despite the Colombians’ dominance on the field not resulting in more goals.
The new season for the Colombian national team began with a revamped squad that included players like Jhon Arias, Jorge Carrascal, and Jhon Lucumi, among others, marking a fresh start after the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
First Half Dominance without Results
The match was played with intensity and constant changes on both sides. The game got underway, but the play was quite inconsistent, marked by ball losses and around 20 fouls in the first 45 minutes.
Perhaps the most notable events of the half were a disallowed goal due to offside for Luis Díaz, following a fabulous solo play down the left flank, and a penalty shout for Jefferson Lerma in the 36th minute, after he was pushed inside the Venezuelan penalty area, which the referee didn’t consider a foul.
Although the first 45 minutes saw a certain superiority from the Colombian side, with various attacks led by Luis Díaz, they couldn’t open the scoring due to the Venezuelan defense’s resilience or mistakes by the Colombian forwards.
The best moments of the first half were, in fact, in added time. However, the first half ended frustratingly in a 0-0 draw, leaving the sense of a stuck match at the Metropolitano stadium in Barranquilla.
Santos Borre Breaks the Deadlock
Right at the beginning of the second half, a header by Rafael Santos Borré, from a cross delivered from the right side by Jhon Arias, resulted in the match’s first and only goal. The new Werder Bremen player leaped free of marking and cleanly headed the ball into Romo’s net, with the ball bouncing on the ground before entering the Venezuelan goal on the left side. It was 1-0.
The introduction of Jorge Carrascal at the start of the second half was decisive in changing the tone of the game, tilting control and play clearly in favor of Colombia. Carrascal, in fact, was one of the last players to be called up by coach Néstor Lorenzo and is expected to be an important asset in this new phase of the national team.
The new direction of the game hinted that the Colombians would manage to extend their lead. However, various attempts by Luis Díaz and Santos Borré couldn’t be converted into goals. The Venezuelan attacks also didn’t pose much of a threat to the home team’s goalkeeper, Camilo Vargas, and the match ended with Colombia’s narrow 1-0 victory.
With this result, Colombia currently sits in second place in the South American Qualifiers, tied with 1 win with Argentina. Argentina also won their match, also 1-0, against Ecuador in Buenos Aires, with a late goal by Leo Messi.
In the other match of the day, Paraguay and Peru played to a goalless draw in Asunción, placing both teams in third and fourth place with 1 point each.