Peru manager Ricardo Gareca heaped praised on the “character” his team displayed to emerge victorious over the “really tough” Uruguay.
Fresh from a humbling 5-0 defeat to Brazil last weekend, Peru faced Uruguay on Saturday night in a Copa America quarter-final clash.
La Blanquirroja were overwhelmed by Uruguay for most of the match and struggled to create any opportunities. In fact, they failed to even get a single one of their three shots at goal on target in 90 minutes.
But luck was clearly on Peru’s side as VAR ruled out three Uruguay goals during the match. While Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin blew golden chances to seal the victory for Oscar Tabarez’s men.
After finishing 0-0, Peru then went on to record a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win and book a semi-final spot.
“It was a tightly fought match against really tough opponents,” said Gareca, according to Yahoo.
“I stress that we showed a lot of character to take them on.
“It was important to work hard, we did that and I think we’ll play better against Chile.”
Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was at the top of his game in Salvador and superbly denied Luis Suarez’s opening spot-kick in the shoot-out. It marked a welcome turnaround for the 29-year-old, who had come under fire for his performance against Brazil.
“Gallese made a difference,” said Gareca.
“Gallese is a goalkeeper who has given us much satisfaction and he’s always been there in the important moments.”
When asked about last weekend’s 5-0 defeat, Gareca replied: “We all had an afternoon that wasn’t ideal, without losing sight of who we were up against.
“Today, Gallese demonstrated how good he is and why he’s the first choice in our team.”
After seeing off Uruguay in Salvador, Peru will now meet defending champions Chile in the semi-finals on Thursday.